Camila, Cosmologist

Hi, I’m Camila Lopez. I went to Sacred Heart University where I graduated with a B.S. majoring in physics. Then I got a Ph.D in Cosmology from Yale University. Now, I am doing a Post Doc at Caltech where I met Jackson Graham. He looks 13 years old, which he is, but talks like he is 30. I often ask him for his advice and opinions on my research. I know his equally smart sister Johari, too. She and Jackson built robotic legs that allowed their wheelchair-bound friend Kaito to walk.

My specialty is studying the creation of atoms. I do simulations of the life cycle of stars. It is their end of life explosions where most new atoms are created and released to the rest of the universe. These explosions are called supernovas. They are so violent that astronomers see them standing out much brighter than the average star, and then they disappear. There was a new source for atom creation discovered in 2017 by detecting gravitational waves. I did calculation to show that the 2017 event was a neutron star pair collision that produced lots of the heaviest atoms. It produced a quantity of gold that weighed more than the weight of Earth.