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John Mehlhaff

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a plasma astrophysicist broadly interested in particle acceleration processes operating in the plasma environments of compact objects. I specialize in extracting synthetic observables from first-principles plasma simulations, through which I link the microphysics of compact object systems to their observed characteristics. In past and ongoing work, I have studied magnetic reconnection as a potential power source for high-energy (X- and gamma-ray) radiation from black holes, especially in the large-scale jets that these objects produce and closer-in toward the event horizon where such jets may be launched. This work is part of a broader effort in the community—and major goal of the SCEECS—to combine classical plasma physics with general relativity (relevant closest to the black hole) and quantum electrodynamics (needed at the most extreme gamma-ray energies) in order to forge a clearer understanding of how particles acquire and radiate away energy in jetted black hole systems. Starting as a member of the SCEECS in 2025, I am eager to work together to push the frontier of this extremely multiscale multiphysics problem.

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