Research

NEUTRON STARS

Qualitative behaviour of the magnetic field of a newly-born neutron star. Heras (2016).

Neutron stars are the extremely dense remnants of massive stars after they die and explode as supernovae. These amazing compact remnants have the strongest magnetic fields in the universe (10-1014 G), super high densities (~3 x 1014  g/cm3), very large frequencies (up to 700 Hz), and very high space velocities (up to 1000 km/s!). However, there are still many puzzles about these compact objects. One such a puzzle is to find out how neutron stars receive an intrinsic “kick” at birth, which originates their large space velocities. The research I have done in neutron stars is centered on this specific problem. This is the list of the papers I have written on the subject:

 


RELATIVITY AND ELECTRODYNAMICS

I have not much to add in this section, but to say that relativity and electrodynamics are two of my most loved topics in physics. I take a great amount of pleasure in studying the details of these theories, so my papers on these subjects are related to this to some extent. 


 

PHYSICS TODAY PAPERS

R. Heras, Phys. Today (March 2017)

I have written two papers for Physics Today. Both are opinion pieces.

The first one is an essay entitled “Individualism: The legacy of great physicists,” where I discuss the tradeoffs between individualism and collectivism in physics. I argue in favor of more individualism in physics. Especially in students!

The second paper is a critique of physics education, written in the form of an essay entitled “How to teach me physics: tradition is not always a virtue.” The editor of the journal invited me to share my opinion on this matter. In this essay, one of the points I touch is that a rather rigid “problem-based teaching” (aka shut up and calculate) is often taught at the expense of creativity and free inquiry. This takes away a lot of pleasure from standard lectures. So I encourage professors to follow Richard Feynman’s advice to prioritize creative learning in their approach to teaching physics.