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 using survey data. My interests range from the evolution of universe to stars and planets.
Textures and patterns are ubiquitous in astronomical data but challenging to quantify. The scattering transform provides a new powerful statistic for these features. It borrows ideas from convolutional neural nets (CNNs), but shares advantages of traditional statistics. In two recent papers (, ), I discussed in depth how to intuitively understand this new statistic which is still unfamiliar to most physicists, and I showed that on weak lensing mass maps it outperforms classic statistics and is on a par with CNNs. The first paper won an award of astrostatistics and was reported by this astrobites blog.
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 others 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 and considered a major discovery in Gaia data.
To make white dwarf research easier, I also 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 that can screw in front of a lens. We 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. We are considering making a new batch of this prism device, with an estimated cost of around 100 dollars each. If you are interested, please contact us!
Department of Physics and Astronomy
2017-2021(expected), M.A., Ph.D.
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., 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
+1 443 207 1532
3400 N. Charles St., Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD21218, USA