Dr. Riddhi Mehta

Dr. Mike Freed


Office: Reed Hall 311
Department of Physics, PO Box 6983
Radford, VA  24142
540-831-5256 (office)    540-831-5652 (Dept. office)

Courses Taught

PHYS 111 - General Physics I 
PHYS 222 - Physics II
ASTR 111 - General Astronomy I
ASTR 112 - General Astronomy II


Ph.D., Astrophysics, 2021, Purdue University. PhD thesis title: "Magnetohydrodynamics of magnetars’ high-energy and radio emissions: A simulation study"

M.S., Physics, 2017, Purdue University

B.E., Electronics and Communication, 2014, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India

Research and Outreach

My research experience and interests are in the application of plasma physics in astrophysical settings, in particular, studying astrophysical shocks and magnetically confined spheromaks. I am also interested in exploring the physical mechanisms behind high-energy and radio emissions from one class of rotating neutron stars called magnetars, particularly, analyzing their giant flares using the astrophysical code PLUTO.

As part of my Plasma Physics research, I apply fundamentals of plasma physics to study magnetically confined equilibrium structures called spheromaks and their tilting instabilities. I analyze their instability and dissipation timescales to explain the origin of quasi-periodic oscillations seen in magnetar giant flares. My High-Energy Theoretical Astrophysics research involves studying high-energy, namely X-ray and gamma-ray emissions, and radio emissions from one class of rotating neutron stars called magnetars possessing extreme surface magnetic fields. I am interested in analyzing magnetar giant flares and their afterglow radio emissions. I build analytical models to hypothesize the physical mechanisms causing these emissions and simulate them in a three-dimensional high-resolution grid to reproduce astrophysical observations using the astrophysical code called PLUTO written in the C programming language.

As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Purdue University, I contributed in outreach programs such as Saturday Morning Astrophysics and Purdue NanoDays involving high school and middle school students, and girl scouts. My teaching interests are introductory mechanics, electromagnetism, solar system and stellar astronomy.

When I’m having a bad day, you’ll find me in my kitchen, experimenting and cooking up different Indian dishes or at my microphone recording Indian music!


Mehta, R., et al. 2021.“Radio afterglow of magnetars’ giant flares,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 506, 4, 6093-6110

Mehta, R., et al. 2020.“Tilting instability of magnetically confined spheromaks,” Journal of Plasma Physics, 86, 4 - selected as one of the “Featured Articles” by the journal