On Monday, March 6 this week Wenhao Li defended his dissertation on post-merger galaxies, and became Dr. Li! Mergers commonly trigger both star formation quenching and active galactic nuclei (AGN). By analyzing the star formation history and neutral hydrogen covering fraction of many post-merger galaxies, Wenhao was able to show that star formation quenching is more directly related to the merging behavior than to the ensuing AGN activity.
Dr. Wenhao Li has exciting career prospects, and is considering either entering the private industry in China or continuing with two proposals accepted by NuSTAR and Chandra in 2022. As an observer, Li says one of the most interesting parts of his research is creating a pipeline to take raw observational data such as flux and derive properties of physical interest, such as gas covering fractions and star formation rate. These derived properties have to be properly presented, scaled, and colored to make an accurate and convincing case, as Dr. Li has for the connection between mergers, AGN, and star formation rates.