About Wen-fai Fong's Work
Astronomical surveys which repeatedly image the sky have revealed that our universe is full of cosmic transients, or sources that change in brightness over time. As a Packard Fellow, I will identify the origins of a mysterious and prolific class of intense, millisecond transients: Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). Taking advantage of newly-commissioned FRB experiments that provide new discoveries, I will probe novel regimes on the electromagnetic spectrum to cross-correlate all known FRBs with historical transients at other wavelengths on a wide range of timescales. I will navigate the growing, complex web of heterogenous, time-varying data to unearth connections between FRBs and complementary signals, with the goal of providing a breakthrough “smoking gun” to their origins. I will apply these tools to real-time FRB discoveries and to transient discoveries by next-generation surveys. My program concurrently advances methods in astrophysics, time-series analysis, and data science.