Tom Shafer

Hi, I'm Tom—a husband, musician, programmer, and theoretical physicist studying at the University of North Carolina. My wife and I are members of the The Summit Church in Durham, NC. I write occasionally, both here and on Twitter.


My research focuses on radioactive properties of the very heaviest atomic nuclei. The half-lives of these nuclei are an important puzzle piece in the search for the astrophysical origin of the elements heavier than iron. To calculate these half-lives, our group has developed a program that significantly reduces the computational cost of half-life calculations [Phys. Rev. C, preprint]. Some of our group have since applied the program to calculate the properties of thousands of nuclei [Phys. Rev. C, preprint].

My curriculum vitae is available as a PDF. Programming and analysis compose a significant fraction of my research—our application of the finite amplitude method to beta decay is written in Fortan, parallelized across both cores (OpenMP) and nodes (MPI). I am also proficient with Python, which I apply extensively for post-processing, analysis, and plotting (using Numpy, Scipy, and Matplotlib).


I play guitars (and occasionally keys or synths) and have been fortunate to work with The Summit Church, Port City Community Church, Scotts Hill Baptist Church, Lee Hester, and others. I am tremendously blessed to be actively involved with The Summit Church and Summit Worship. A limited discography is provided below.

Selected Discography

Selected Videos


I have a few blog posts available here.

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