High Energy Density Physics/Laboratory Astrophysics

The universe abounds with strongly supersonic shock waves, so strong that they ionize any matter they encounter and so hot that they may radiate away most of their energy. Similar shock waves can be produced on earth in experiments producing material pressures above one-million atmospheres, which defines the high energy density regime.

Climate & Space faculty members do experiments that produce high energy density conditions and who model such systems using complex computer codes. We use these tools for laboratory astrophysics — to study processes that are important in astrophysics and especially in supernovae. Simply put, Climate & Space scientists use big lasers and big computers to explore how stars explode.


Center for Radiative Shock Hydrodynamics (Prof. Drake)