Falk Herwig

University of Victoria
Group Member

Falk Herwig is a professor in the Dept. of Physics of Astronomy at the University of Victoria, BC. He obtained is PhD at the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam and University Kiel in Germany and held post-doctoral positions in Potsdam (Universtiy), Victoria, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM. Before coming back to BC in 2008 he held a Lecturer faculty position at Keele University, England.

Herwig's research interests are in the simulation of the origin of the elements in stars and stellar explosions. He has worked extensively on the evolution of stars, in particular of low- and intermediate mass, white dwarfs, binary stars and their interactions, as well as the nucleosynthesis in all of these. Herwig is enthusiastic supporter of the MESA stellar evolution code and presently helps with its stewardship. He is a founding member of the NuGrid collaboration.

Another focus of his research are large-scale simulations of the hydrodynamical mixing processes in the interior of stars, that relate to the nuclear production site of the elements. In this work he combines his experience stellar research with the powerful computational tools of Paul Woodward from the University of Minnesota.

In order to analyse the nucleosynthetic signatures of various types of stars Herwig has helped to create the NuGrid collaboration (http://www.nugridstars.org) which produces codes and data sets relating to simulations of the origin of the elements. These codes allow a comprehensive analysis of the effect of individual nuclear reaction rates in a realistic simulation framework of real stars and stellar explosions. For example the inset figure shows the abundances of some key heavy elements that belong to the slow neutron capture process nucleosynthesis according to a NuGrid simulation of the interior of a 2 solar mass star.