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Contact Info

Email: majlopez [at] ucsc [dot] edu


Physics (Astrophysics) B.S. (Summa Cum Laude); University of California, Santa Cruz, 2018
  • GPA: 4.00, Highest Honors in the Major
Mission College; Santa Clara, transferred 2015
  • GPA: 3.92

Research Interests

Theoretical and computational astrophysics, transients, high energy astrophysics, compact objects, formation channels of LIGO sources.

Research Experience

Junior Specialist; UC Santa Cruz, 2018-Present
  • Study the structure of binary black hole tidal disruption events using numerical tools such as SPH and FLASH.
Undergraduate Research Fellow, Supercomputer Lab for Undergraduates; UC Santa Cruz, 2016-2018
Advisors: Prof. Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Dr. Aldo Batta
  • Use 3D Lagrangian hydrodynamic simulations and analytic methods to study dense stellar systems (globular clusters and galactic nuclei). Specifically, the physical and tidal interactions within them.
Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics; Neils Bohr Institute, 2017
Advisors: Prof. Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Dr. Aldo Batta
  • Study tidal disruptions of stars by LIGO binary black holes to understand the evolution of their individual spins.
NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates, Lamat; UC Santa Cruz, 2017
Advisors: Prof. Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Dr. Aldo Batta
  • Study physical encounters between compact objects and red giants using analytical methods.
  • Use order of magnitude estimates to calculate rates of collisions and significance of feedback energy into the system.

Computational Skills

  • Proficiency in the Lagrangian Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamic (SPH) formulated code GADGET-3 (Springel, V.). GADGET-3 utilizes MPI.
Programming Languages
  • Python
  • C/C++
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • University of Copenhagen HPC@UCPH Cluster
  • UC Santa Cruz Hyades Cluster


“Probing the Black Hole Merger History in Clusters using Stellar Tidal Disruptions”, Johan Samsing, Tejaswi Venumadhav, Liang Dai, Irvin Martinez, Aldo Batta, Martin Lopez Jr., Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, Kyle Kremer. 2019, Submitted.

“Tidal Disruptions Of Stars By Binary Black Holes: Modifying The Spin Magnitudes And Directions Of Ligo Sources In Dense Stellar Environments”, Martin Lopez Jr., Aldo Batta, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, Irvin Martinez, Johan Samsing. 2018, The Astrophysical Journal, Submitted.

Honors & Awards

UCSC Women’s Club Scholarship (Re-Entry Scholarship); 2017
Ron Ruby Memorial Scholarship; 2016-2017
Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Award; 2015-2017
Dean’s Honor List; 2012 – Present


Presentation, UC Board of Regents Meeting; San Francisco, CA, 2018
The Benefit of Undergraduate Research
Poster, American Astronomical Society 231st Meeting; Washington, DC, 2018
Understanding The Spin Evolution of LIGO Sources
Talk, Dynamically Assembled Binaries at the Beach Program; UC Santa Cruz, 2017
Understanding The Spin Evolution of LIGO Sources
Talk, Department Funding Presentation; UC Santa Cruz 2017
Red Giant Depletion Through Collisions in Dense Stellar Systems
Talk, Prof. Ruth Murray-Clay Group Collaboration Presentation; UC Santa Cruz, 2017
Red Giant Depletion Through Collisions in Dense Stellar Systems
Poster, Undergraduate Research Symposium; UC Santa Cruz 2016
The Extermination of Stars Through Collisions

Outreach, Services, and Experiences

Lab Tours Host of SLUG Offices; UC Santa Cruz, 2016-2018

STEM Diversity and STARS

COMET Mentor; UC Santa Cruz, 2016


Tutor, Introduction to Scientific Computing; UC Santa Cruz, 2016

Learning Support Services

Free Tutoring Services, Math; Santa Clara, 2015

Muslim Community Associate

Peer Mentor, Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra; Mission College, 2014-2015


Tutor, Physics, Math, Statistics, Chemistry, and English; Mission College, 2014-2015

Academic Support Center


English and Spanish (Native)