Research

 

MAGNETIC MONOPOLES

Physics Today, 69 (2016).

 

I became interested in magnetic monopoles last year and ever since I have had a certain fascination towards the subject. If discovered, magnetic monopoles would have a dramatic implication in the standard model and physics in general. However, in the magnetic monopole theory, there is still an open question: Can the Dirac quantization condition be obtained if photons have mass? In a paper I co-authored with Alfred Goldhaber we answer this question in the positive. 

 


NEUTRON STARS

Qualitative behavior 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, super high densities, and very high velocities. 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. 

 


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, I encourage professors to follow Richard Feynman’s advice to prioritize creative learning in their approach to teaching physics.

 


TEACHING: RELATIVITY AND ELECTRODYNAMICS

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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 as well as teaching them every time I got the chance. 


HISTORY OF RELATIVITY