Professor of Experimental Astroparticle Physics
Astroparticle physics is a new part of astrophysics that studies extreme environments in the universe. One example of what is studied is processes in connection with the creation of black holes, another is the properties of materia around what is know as neutron stars and black holes.
Felix Ryde and his research team primarily investigate “gamma-ray bursts”, which are short bursts of gamma radiation that arise from the instant that very heavy stars collapse. The events take place at very large distances from us, meaning when the universe was only a fraction of its current age. In connection with the collapse of these stars, powerful plasma beams are sent out that move at speeds close to the speed of light.
Ryde’s research contributed to the understanding of these plasma beams and the origin of the gamma radiation in them. He showed that the bursts originate from the plasma beam’s photosphere that lies at a distance of 10 million kilometres from the black hole. This insight has led to greater understanding of the processes in connection with collapsing stars. To study the gamma bursts, mainly the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is used, which detects high-energy photons from space. This research leads to new opportunities to study the young universe and materia under extreme conditions.