In recent years, I spend most of my time on gamma-ray bursts (GRBs),
the intense bursts of gamma-rays coming from the deep space.
Being stellar scale
events located at cosmological distances, GRBs make unique
connections between different branches of astrophysics, including
stellar astronomy, compact star physics, interstellar medium
astronomy, galactic astronomy, and cosmology.
Being most violent explosions in the universe, GRBs are
targets of the electromagnetic telescopes of all
wavelengths (radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-rays,
MeV gamma-rays, GeV gamma-rays and even TeV gamma-rays)
as well as non-electromagnetic detectors (high energy
neutrinos, gravitational waves, and ultra-high energy cosmic rays).
For a general introduction of GRBs and recent developments
in the field, please read my recent review articles
Comptes Rendus Physique (Zhang 2011)
Chinese Journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics (Zhang 2007)
International Journal of Modern Physics A (Zhang & Meszaros 2004)
Mainly as a theorist trying to understand the underlying physics of the observed phenomena, I also participate observational campaigns and lead an active group at UNLV to work on data analysis and theoretical modeling (see my group website). My research at UNLV has been supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through the programs of Long Term Space Astrophysics (LTSA), Astrophysical Data Analysis Program (ADP), Swift, Fermi, Chandra, and XMM-Newton.
My ApJ paper on the canonical GRB X-ray lightcurve and its theoretical interpretations was identified as the New Hot Paper in Space Science by Essential Science Indicators in July 2007. Here is the paper, and here is a brief interview of me about this paper. According to a citation analysis of the GRB work by Thomson Reuters Science Watch in 2008, my total number of citations and total number of papers are ranked #11 and #6 during the past 10 years (10-year ranking). Among the top 20 most cited papers in the past two years, I had 6 papers on the list (#1, #2, #5, #14, #16, #19) (2-year top 20 papers). I also have three first-author papers identified as the core papers of Research Front Map of "Gamma-Ray Bursts".
Here are some links reporting on my research work
I am a team member of NASA's Swift
mission. This is a dedicated satellite studying GRBs.
I have participated the following discoveries of the Swift team: