Per ardua ad astra. Dr. Elias Aydi (MS’14), Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) alumnus, has been awarded the prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship, making him one of 24 of its international recipients. Administered by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP) endorses post-doctoral scientists in their independent research in astronomy and astrophysics, providing them with up to three years’ worth of salary, benefits, and other expenses.
Dr. Aydi, currently a post-doctoral research associate at Michigan State University (MSU), graduated from NDU in 2014 with an MS in Astrophysics in a joint program with Saint Joseph University (USJ). He then pursued his PhD at the South African Astronomical Observatory and University of Cape Town in 2018, where he explored nova eruptions via multi-wavelength studies as well as 3D radiation-hydro modeling of evolved stars. His present research at MSU aims to determine the role of shocks in powering nova eruptions.
As a Hubble Fellow, Dr. Aydi’s proposal title is “Combining Observations with Simulations to Decipher Shocks in Novae,” wherein he intends to incorporate multi-wavelength observations from NASA’s space- and ground-based facilities with 3D radiation-hydro simulations to decipher shocks in novae. The research endeavor further involves solving prominent and established questions in high-energy astrophysics.
His proposal is inspired by the novel results of his recent study: in analyzing observations from several NASA missions, Dr. Aydi and his team were able to record first-hand observational evidence that shocks could power a large fraction of the luminosity of a stellar explosion, implying more powerful emissions than those of the thermonuclear reactions.
The prestige of the Fellowship follows not only a career in astrophysics, but a life-long passion for the subject. Dr. Aydi, in addition to his academic excellence and several research publications, organized and contributed to public outreach during his PhD years in South Africa, where he would give tours of the Observatory and hold events that targeted students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He continued this pursuit after relocating to MSU, being part of the organizers for a bi-monthly night where those of all ages are invited to participate in astronomy-related activities and attend short talks.
Given his admirable work ethic and enduring spirit for curiosity, there is little wonder as to why Dr. Aydi has been awarded this honor.
The sincerest congratulations to Dr. Elias Aydi! From NDU, we wish you the best of luck, and are sure you will reach even greater heights.