Name: Martin Obergaulinger
Current position: Postdoc
Affiliation: Universitat de València
Field of research: Computational astrophysics, magnetohydrodynamics, core-collapse supernovae
What is your career trajectory to date?
After studying at the Technical University of Munich, I worked on my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching. I stayed there for a postdoc, went for close to a year to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, seven years in València, two at the TU Darmstadt, before returning to València on my current Ramón y Cajal fellowship.
What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?
My quite subjective list includes the mechanisms behind the various classes of explosions of massive stars, their contributions to the synthesis of heavy elements, their emission of gravitational waves, neutrinos, and photons, and the properties of their (compact) remnants as well as turbulence in (magnetised) astrophysical fluids.
What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?
I enjoy working with many colleagues in the field. Most importantly, I love nature. Learning about its many faces is just fascinating. Aspects such as job uncertainty and the competitive nature are not that much of my liking.
Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?
I (would have) found it useful to, instead of rushing to judgement, listen to what colleagues, simulations, or data have to tell.
In your career so far, at what point were you the most excited, and what were you excited about?
I had a few tiny, let's say Eurequita moments, e.g., simulations showing something surprising (and sometimes not as a result of a bug, but indeed a feature).
What new skills would you like to learn in the next year?
Some of the more recent developments in programming and software engineering as well as data science. Improving my efficiency when it comes to writing from questionnaires like this to papers would not hurt either.
What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?
The next galactic supernova and its gravitational wave and neutrino signals.
What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?
Like many fields not just of science, we may have to deal with the law of diminishing returns making new steps more and more difficult and costly, economically as well as in terms of complexity.
What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?
Connecting people and ideas beyond the confines of state and sub-discipline borders is extraordinarily important for our work.
What’s your favorite food?
All kinds of Mehlspeisen: Kaiserschmarrn, Strudl, Salzburger Nockerl, Dampfnudeln, Germknedl, Zwetschgnknedl, ...
Have you lived in a different European country than you do now? If so, would you like to tell us something about it, e.g. a fond memory or something you found surprising?
I've lived in Bavaria, Israel, and Hessen. In all places I met many great persons within our field and beyond it. I am still utterly fascinated by Jerusalem. I enjoyed a lot living in Eberstadt and hiking in the Odenwald region. And of course I am full of memories of my native Bavaria, such as trainspotting near Treuchtlingen or Mühldorf, cycling along rivers such as Rott, Inn, and Isar, or the extraordinarily beautiful day my brother and I ascended Mount Watzmann.
How do you like to relax after a hard day of work?
Walking, hiking, running, and cycling, reading, listening to music, crossword puzzles.
Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?
Nature in general, history is also a big interest of mine, music, early and not that early, and railways.
If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing?
I hope I would be working at the railways as a locomotive driver or a signaller.
What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?
In my own subfield, I would hope for a better understanding of core-collapse supernova and gamma-ray bursts and of the underlying physics from neutrinos to turbulence. In a wider scope, I'd be curious to see how our descriptions of gravity will evolve and what we might learn about complexity in general.
What question would you have liked us to ask you, and what would you have responded?
Perhaps the Werner Herzog option: are you stardust or are you Bavarian? Answer: can't you be both, a very stardusty Bavarian?