The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has awarded CAS fellow Stella Stopkowicz a grant to continue her research on white dwarfs, stars at the end of their life cycles that sometimes exhibit powerful magnetic fields.

Stopkowicz, a senior researcher at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, is this year participating in the CAS project Molecules in Extreme Environments.

‘As a scientist early in my career, I’m very happy to have received the opportunity to pursue this exciting project and build up my own research group,’ Stopkowicz said. ‘My goal for this work is to enable the identification of atoms and molecules on white dwarfs with strong magnetic fields in collaboration with the astrophysics community.’

Stopkowicz’s proposal was titled ‘Coupled-cluster methods to investigate the chemistry on magnetic white dwarfs.’ In a summary, she writes that studying magnetic white dwarfs has historically been challenging due to the ‘enormous computational costs’ associated with the computational methods required.

New tools Stopkowicz and Florian Hampe, her colleague at Mainz, have developed are proving to be better suited for studying larger systems while still maintaining high accuracy. The Journal of Chemical Physics wrote about those methods last year.

‘In this way, the proposed project will contributed to unveiling the composition of magnetic white dwarf atmospheres,’ Stopkowicz writes.

The three-year research grant includes funding for a Ph.D. student and a student assistant, as well as for computer resources. In total, the grant is worth about €200,000.