Visiting Scientist Program

Astrid Holzheid working on horizontal tube furnaces in the Planetary Chemistry Laboratory

The McDonnell Center has a rich history of visiting scientists collaborating with Washington University’s space science research efforts. The Center provides resources to bring scientists to the Washington University campus for extended periods. Visiting scientists represent broad areas of expertise, such as Non-accelerator Particle Physics, Gravitational Waves, and Cosmology. This program infuses new ideas and concepts into the Washington University scientific community. At the same time visiting scientists benefit from access to established university faculty.

Astrid Holzheid, Institute of Geosciences, Kiel University, Germany, has been a regular visitor since her first time at Washington University in 1995 as a visiting PhD student.  Since then she has been a collaborator with Professor Bruce Fegley, Jr. and Dr. Katharina Lodders of the Planetary Chemistry Laboratory and now expanded research efforts include Professor Kun Wang of the Isotope Cosmochemistry Laboratory.  Current research is about K and Cu isotopic fractionation during vaporization to understand how vaporization from magma ocean can affect isotopic fractionation.

Victor A. Khodel, Russian Research Centre, Kurchatov Institute, Moscow, has visited the Washington University campus for a number of years. He and John W. Clark, Wayman Crow Professor Emeritus of Physics, continue collaborations on Phase Transitions in Dense Astrophysical Matter.  Their research project seeks a deeper understanding of the internal microstructure of neutron stars, and especially the exotic phases of matter that are expected to be present inside these superdense objects. Clark and Khodel develop and apply advanced methods of quantum many-body theory, with the goal of quantitative prediction of microscopic properties of neutron-star matter having significant impact on observable properties of neutron stars. Their approaches are informed by and contribute to rapidly evolving theoretical concepts and techniques of condensed-matter physics.