Eve Armstrong

New York Institute of Technology

Research Associate, Department of Astrophysics

I am an assistant professor in Physics at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan and a research associate in Astrophysics at AMNH.  I study exploding stars, sounds, and brains.  I am also a theater producer/director.  I create communication workshops and performance events for scientists, using methodologies from theater, comedy, and storytelling.

Research Interests

Astrophysics research

I am a fan of neutrino emission from core-collapse supernovae (CCSN).  A CCSN occurs when a supermassive star explodes catastrophically at the end of its nuclear-fusion-burning lifetime.  The event results in 1) the creation of an exotic compact object, and 2) the ejection of the outer shells of the star as a supernova remnant: seeds for new generations, including human beings.  I like this problem because it is important for understanding fundamental questions about the Universe’s building blocks and because the problem is a beast.  The physics is fiercely nonlinear, as are most formulations that realistically capture natural processes.  In addition, the measurements we have are extremely sparse.

Having in hand a poorly constrained model and sparse measurements, my chief research focus is honing an optimization-based inference methodology.  Optimization is a means to solve a model given available measurements, where the measurements are assumed to be a manifestation of underlying physical dynamics.  Our method differs from the better-known machine-learning paradigm, as it is designed for the case of extremely sparse – rather than plentiful – data.  For details, please visit here.

Science communication

I am co-creator and co-artistic director of Reality Aside Theater, a 501(c)3 incorporated in New York State.  We have produced dark interactive comedy for midtown audiences, as well as toured science-themed sketch comedy to tri-state area schools.  My passion is marrying theater and comedy with science. 

In summer of 2022, I coached NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) students at AMNH in a science-themed stand-up and sketch performance.  This event led to the development of a broader program for AMNH-affiliated astrophysicists interested in enhancing their communication skills – e.g., classroom teaching style, scientific talk delivery, and/or interacting more effectively with an audience.  The workshop brings in professional playwrights, stand-up comedians, actors, storytellers, and improvisation artists, to share their expertise.  The program is part of a longer-term goal to establish a broad science/theater program at AMNH.  My co-conspirators are AMNH Astrophysics curators Ruth Angus and Rebecca Oppenheimer, and AMNH playwright-in-residence, Stephen Laughton.