I am a graduate student of astrophysics at the Johns Hopkins Univerisity (JHU). I love physics, math, philosophy, classical music, kendo, and anime. Recently, I am reading an astonishing book: A Logical Journey: From Gödel to Philosophy.
I like to view astrophysical problems from both perspectives of physics and statistics in survey data. I am interested in observational cosmology and astrophysics.
Non-Gaussianities are ubiquitous in astronomical data, but challenging to quantify. The scattering transform provides a brand new vocabulary for describing patterns and textures in non-Gaussian fields (and 1D signals). It borrows ideas from convolutional neural nets (CNNs) but yields robust and interpretable statistics in a deterministic way.
On weak lensing mass maps, I show the scattering transform extracts as much cosmological information as state-of-the-art CNNs and outperforms classic statistics. Read this astrobites blog, or click the figure below to read our paper.
I also work on white dwarfs, the destiny of most stars in the universe. Using data from the Gaia space mission, I discovered a new population of white dwarfs that cool extremely slowly and some that are merger products. My work has led to two papers (click the figures below), one of which was highlighted by astrobites and AAS Nova.
While working on white dwarfs, I built a publically available package
WD_models in python for transformation between white dwarf photometry and physical properties.
In high school, my twin brother (who is studying philosophy now) and I found an efficient way to take spectra of meteors with digital camera. We designed a prism device connected to a camera lens, ordered several from a factory, and sold them to other amateurs of astronomy. Shown below is one spectrum of the Geminid meteor shower, taken in 2010.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
2019-present, Ph.D. candidate
Advisor: Prof. Brice Ménard
Department of Astronomy
Advisor: Prof. Eric Peng (彭逸西)
Cheng, S., Two delays in white dwarf evolution revealed by Gaia, 2019, Proceedings of IAU, 15(S357), 175
Cheng, S., Cummings, J. D., Ménard, B., A Cooling Anomaly of High-mass White Dwarfs, 2019, ApJ, 886, 100
Cheng, S., Cheng, S., Meteor spectral observation with DSLR, normal lens and prism, 2011, JIMO, 39, 39
Lu, C. X., Schlaufman, K. C., Cheng, S., An Increase in Small-planet Occurrence with Metallicity for Late-type Dwarf Stars in the Kepler Field and Its Implications for Planet Formation, 2020, AJ, 160, 253
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