About THCA

Tsinghua Center for Astrophysics

An integration of astronomy, physics, and engineering at Tsinghua

Tsinghua Center for Astrophysics (THCA) is a research center based in the Department of Physics at Tsinghua University. THCA was established in 2001. The founding director was Prof. Tipei Li (from 2001-2010); from 2011 to 2016, Charling Tao was the director (from 2014-2016, co-director); from 2015 to present, Shude Mao is the director. Its faculty members mainly come from the Department of Physics; a considerable amount of research and teaching related to astrophysics is done by faculty from elsewhere, including the Department of Engineering Physics, School of Information Science and Technology, and Department of Precision Instrument. Faculty members perform research in diverse areas, including galaxy formation, cosmology, supernovae and time domain astronomy, high energy astrophysics, plasma astrophysics, and space astronomy and instrumentation. While the center is relatively young, we have already produced a number of distinguished alumni who won prestigious fellowships and obtained faculty positions worldwide.

THCA currently has 14 faculties, 11 postdocs, and more than 45 graduate students, and is undergoing a major expansion. On August 18th, 2014, the University Council approved a new, ambitious plan for the development of the astronomy program in the following 5 years. An Institute of Astrophysics and a Tsinghua-NAOC Joint Research Center for Astrophysics in collaboration with the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences have been established according to the plan. THCA will recruit about 10 more faculty members by 2020. In addition, THCA will have a strong focus on developing state-of-the-art instrumentation for ground-based and space facilities, taking advantage of the strong engineering background of the University. Inter-disciplinary research with biology, space information technology will also be encouraged.

All the members of the THCA will have access to following resources:

  • The TNT 80cm optical telescope in Tsinghua-NAOC Observatory located in Xinglong;
  • High performance computing facilities in Tsinghua University;
  • Instrumentation engineering team (in mechanics, vacuum and electronics);
  • Joint student training and funding applications with NAOC staff members.

THCA at a glance

14 Professors

in both physics
and other departments

24 Students

with well designed
courses and projects

5 Alumni

being leading experts
in their own areas

1 Academician

Member of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences

3 QianRen Experts

selected in the Innovative
Thousand Talent Program

3 Yangtze & JieQing

selected in the
Yangtze or JieQing programs

2 Labs

to build instruments
for future astronomy

2 computer clusters

for high performance
computing and simulation

~100 Visitors

per year from
world-wide institutes