• 4247 Citations

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Wen-fai Fong utilizes observations across the electromagnetic spectrum to study explosive transients and their host galaxy environments. These transients include gamma-ray bursts, electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources, compact object binaries, supernovae, and anything that collides or explodes.

The main questions she seeks to answer in her research are: What are the energy sources powering these transients? What is the nature and composition of material ejected from these sources? What types of environments do they explode into? What do their host galaxies look like, and what can they tell us about their progenitors?

To aid these efforts, Wen-fai uses a large variety of telescopes spanning radio, optical, near-infrared, and X-ray wavelengths on the ground and in space. On the ground, these facilities include the Very Large Array, Magellan, Gemini, MMT and Keck located in New Mexico, Chile, Hawaii and Arizona. In space, she uses NASA's Swift satellite, the Hubble Space Telescope, and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope when it launches in late 2018. She also uses information from the Advanced Laser Interferometry Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) to rapidly follow gravitational wave sources and their host galaxies with many of these facilities.

Over the past several years, she has led multi-wavelength observational campaigns, garnering national recognition for her studies of short gamma-ray bursts.

Education/Academic qualification

Astronomy and Astrophysics, PhD, Harvard University

… → 2014

Astronomy and Astrophysics, AM, Harvard University

… → 2010

Biology, Physics, SB, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

… → 2008

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  • Research Output

    • 4247 Citations
    • 59 Article
    • 1 Letter

    An extremely energetic supernova from a very massive star in a dense medium

    Nicholl, M., Blanchard, P. K., Berger, E., Chornock, R., Margutti, R., Gomez, S., Lunnan, R., Miller, A. A., Fong, W. F., Terreran, G., Vigna-Gómez, A., Bhirombhakdi, K., Bieryla, A., Challis, P., Laher, R. R., Masci, F. J. & Paterson, K., 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Nature Astronomy.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Scopus citations

    On the rate of neutron star binary mergers from globular clusters

    Ye, C. S., Fong, W. F., Kremer, K., Rodriguez, C. L., Chatterjee, S., Fragione, G. & Rasio, F. A., Jan 1 2020, In : Astrophysical Journal Letters. 888, 1

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 10 Scopus citations

    A Galaxy-targeted Search for the Optical Counterpart of the Candidate NS-BH Merger S190814bv with Magellan

    Gomez, S., Hosseinzadeh, G., Cowperthwaite, P. S., Villar, V. A., Berger, E., Gardner, T., Alexander, K. D., Blanchard, P. K., Chornock, R., Drout, M. R., Eftekhari, T., Fong, W., Gill, K., Margutti, R., Nicholl, M., Paterson, K. & Williams, P. K. G., Oct 20 2019, In : Astrophysical Journal Letters. 884, 2, L55.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 7 Scopus citations

    ALMA Detection of a Linearly Polarized Reverse Shock in GRB 190114C

    Laskar, T., Alexander, K. D., Gill, R., Granot, J., Berger, E., Mundell, C. G., Duran, R. B., Bolmer, J., Duffell, P., Eerten, H. V., Fong, W. F., Kobayashi, S., Margutti, R. & Schady, P., Jun 10 2019, In : Astrophysical Journal Letters. 878, 1, L26.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 12 Scopus citations

    An Embedded X-Ray Source Shines through the Aspherical at 2018cow: Revealing the Inner Workings of the Most Luminous Fast-evolving Optical Transients

    Margutti, R., Metzger, B. D., Chornock, R., Vurm, I., Roth, N., Grefenstette, B. W., Savchenko, V., Cartier, R., Steiner, J. F., Terreran, G., Margalit, B., Migliori, G., Milisavljevic, D., Alexander, K. D., Bietenholz, M., Blanchard, P. K., Bozzo, E., Brethauer, D., Chilingarian, I. V., Coppejans, D. L. & 25 others, Ducci, L., Ferrigno, C., Fong, W., Götz, D., Guidorzi, C., Hajela, A., Hurley, K., Kuulkers, E., Laurent, P., Mereghetti, S., Nicholl, M., Patnaude, D., Ubertini, P., Banovetz, J., Bartel, N., Berger, E., Coughlin, E. R., Eftekhari, T., Frederiks, D. D., Kozlova, A. V., Laskar, T., Svinkin, D. S., Drout, M. R., MacFadyen, A. & Paterson, K., Feb 10 2019, In : Astrophysical Journal. 872, 1, A18.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 29 Scopus citations