Interview with Liubin Pan

Q: What is the focus and direction of your research?

My research basically focuses on interstellar turbulence. In particular, I have been studying turbulent mixing of heavy elements in the interstellar media of galaxies. Recently, I started a research effort to understand collisions of dust particles in protoplanetary turbulence, and its implications on planetesimal formation. Generally, I am interested in turbulence theory and in applying models and methods developed in the turbulence community to understand the effects of turbulence in various astrophysical environments.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your 4 years as a Clay Postdoctoral Fellow?

As a Clay Fellow, I would like to further advance my research work mentioned above. I hope that my work on protoplanetary turbulence would finally help understand how planetesimals form. I plan to expand my research to other topics, such as magnetohydrodynamic turbulence and plasma physics. I would also like to extend my work to the high-redshift universe. After completion of the Fellowship, I wish to become a better researcher who has the necessary background for a long-term research job.

Q: How have the facilities and personnel resources at the CfA furthered your research project?

I have been using the archives and great library services at CfA. My research needs computation facilities for simulations, and it is convenient to make use of super computer clusters available at the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC).

Q: What is a typical day like for you?

Typically, I work in my office, doing data analysis, developing theoretical models, communicating with collaborators, and writing papers. I go to talks directly relevant to my research work or in areas of general interest. Sometimes I go to dinners with ITC visitors.

Q: Is there some element about the CfA that may be surprising to those who have never spent time here as a researcher?

The main impression I had when I first came here was the size of CfA. There are so many great researchers working in various fields, and there are many visitors and talks every week. I guess this would probably impress any researcher who has never spent time here. I think the research activities and the scientific atmosphere would be a great experience for anybody.

Q: What is like to live and work in the Cambridge area?

It is generally nice to live and work in Cambridge, although the weather can get annoying in the winter. I live close to CfA, about 25-minute walk. For me, it is nice to walk to work every day. I very much enjoyed both the cultural and scientific activities in Cambridge.

Q: What has been the highlight of your first year at the CfA?

I think the highlight of my first year at CfA was that I was able to concentrate on a few interesting research topics. Meanwhile, I am getting familiar with life in Cambridge.


Clay Fellow Warren Brown