The Astrophysics Program at Xiangtan University
The Astrophysics program at Xiangtan University was founded in early 1990s solely by Prof. Fuyuan Xiang, initially focusing on stellar evolution and magnetic activities. For about 20 years, Prof. Xiang was the only astronomy faculty until Dr. Xuejuan Yang and Prof. Aigen Li were recruited in early 2010s. Thanks to Prof. Xiang and his colleagues’ tireless efforts, the astrophysics program has now undergone substantial growth to have nine faculty: two professors (Fuyuan Xiang, Aigen Li), five associate professors (Xuejuan Yang, Jianfu Zhang, Zhaosheng Li, Ke Hu, Yunxia Yu), and two assistant professors (Ming Lyu, Yuanyue pan). To meet the demand of the national and social development and support the national key research projects, the astrophysics group has been performing frontier research in a wide range of topics, including the stellar and interstellar physics, supernova remnants, black holes and neutron stars, and has earned national and international reputation.
In recent years, the astrophysics program has been supported by an international grant (awarded to Fuyuan Xiang) from the “New Horizon” foundation, 17 grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and over 10 grants from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hunan Province. The astrophysics group has published over 200 papers in top astronomy and astrophysics journals including ApJ, A&A, MNRAS and AJ. These papers have received more than 10,000 citations. Especially, Fuyuan Xiang’s ApJ paper on the diffuse interstellar bands was highlighted by a whole article in “Mercury”, the official magazine of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Xuejuan Yang’s ApJ paper on the interstellar aromatic molecules was discussed in “The Chemistry of Cosmic Dust”, a textbook authored by D.A. Williams, the former president of the Royal Astronomical Society of the United Kingdom. This paper was also selected as a discussion topic in the course “Astrophysical Frontiers” at Princeton University, developed by Prof. B.T. Draine, a member of the National Academy of Sciences of USA.