Benard Nsamba appointed head of the MPA partner group

August 29, 2022

The Partner Group of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics at Kyambogo University in Uganda will be led by MPA scientist Dr. Benard Nsamba. The Max Planck Society will support the partner group for up to a period of five years with 20,000 Euros every year. With these funds, Dr. Nsamba will build a research group in Astrophysics at Kyambogo University in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, covering expenses for travel, workshops, doctoral students and postdocs as well as minor equipment.

The partner group is based on Dr. Nsamba’s research expertise in astrophysics, in particular the study of stellar interior physics using an exciting technique called “asteroseismology”. This is an area of research on how stars vibrate. These vibrations are somewhat similar to the vibrations on the skin of a drum after being hit by a musician or the vibrations that shake the ground during an earthquake. The frequency of these vibrations can tell us something about the material that is shaking. The same holds for the vibrations of stars, which we can observe, for example, as tiny fluctuations of how bright they are. Dr. Nsamba is an expert in making computational models of the interiors of stars that make predictions for these vibrations. By comparing his computer models with the data, he can learn about the inner workings of stars and address fundamental questions about how stars work deep inside.

Specifically, the research group will aim at answering essential questions related to the model description of stellar physics taking place at the interface between convective cores and radiative interiors (the mass transition region). This has a major impact on the nature and size of inferred stellar cores, and is of paramount importance towards accurate characterization of stars. The research activities will combine seismic, spectroscopic, and parallax data to extensively explore both the core properties of stars in the stellar mass transition region, and the impact of model physics on core extension and stellar ages.

The partnership between MPA and the Kyambogo University creates a platform for astronomy research collaborations extending manpower and expertise at both institutes, this in turn accelerates astronomy development in Uganda.


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