Igor Novikov is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Kent under the supervision of Professor Michael Smith and Dr Dirk Froebrich. His thesis title is 'Numerical simulations of protoplanetary nebula'.
Igor's research focuses on modelling protoplanetary nebula (PPN) emissions with a molecular code. PPNs are one of the main dust producers along with AGNs, being a plausible source for H2 formation and molecular emission, and are included in the evolutionary phase of the life cycle of medium-mass stars. PPNs are often also characterised as an intermediate stage between the asymptotic giant branch stars (AGB) and planetary nebulae (PNe). This stage is unique due to mass loss in the form of high- velocity collimated winds which shock and shape the ejected shell that catches up with outer material, ejected during the earlier AGB phase, producing a fast molecular wind. As a result, the ro-vibrational lines of H2 are activated, resulting in near-infrared (NIR) emissions. Eventually, the gas in PPN is diffused into space, leaving behind a dense, dim white dwarf; the matter ejected by PPN forms new building blocks for the next generation of stars.