Tom Shafer

Hi, I'm Tom—a husband, musician, programmer, and now a data scientist working for Elder Research in Raleigh, NC. Previously, I studied nuclear physics at the University of North Carolina. My wife and I are members of the The Summit Church in Durham, NC.


I play guitars 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.

Selected Discography

Selected Videos


Programming and analysis comprised a large fraction of my research effort; our group's application of the finite amplitude method to beta decay was written in Fortan and parallelized across both cores (OpenMP) and nodes (MPI). Besides Fortran, I also became proficient in Python, which I used for post-processing, analysis, and plotting (using Numpy, Scipy, and Matplotlib). Since joining Elder Research, I have dived into R programming and love some of the things that can be done with, e.g., the tidyverse set of packages—dplyr, tidyr, and purrr, especially.


My research focused on radioactive properties of the very heaviest atomic nuclei, whose half-lives 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 developed a program—a proton-neutron extension of the finite amplitude method—that significantly reduces the computational cost of certain half-life calculations [Phys. Rev. C, preprint]. Some in our group applied the program to calculate the properties of thousands of nuclei [Phys. Rev. C, preprint], and I extended the method to compute the half-lives of nuclei with odd numbers of protons and/or neutrons before focusing on the properties of two specific sets of nuclei [Phys. Rev. C, preprint].


You can find me on Twitter at @tomshafer.

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