Research Interest

"The reward of the young scientist is the emotional thrill of being the first person in the history of the world to see something or to understand something." - Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin


Near field cosmology


Chemical tagging


Stellar spectroscopy


Galactic evolution


Machine learning


Stellar populations

I study the Milky Way

"We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

The big picture

Understanding physical processes responsible for the formation and evolution of galaxies like the Milky Way is a fundamental and still unsettled problem in astrophysics.

Why study the Milky Way

Our own Galaxy offers by far the best chance to study a galactic system in great detail regarding the formation and evolution of its structural components (disk, bulge, and halo).

What to study about the Milky Way

One fundamental question is: when, where and how do stars form. The conversion of gas into stars over time, and how stars' orbits change throughout the dynamical history of the system.

My research

My main research is to optimize a technique known as "chemical tagging'' to unravel the fossil record of star formation in the Milky Way.

What is chemical tagging

The goal of chemical tagging is the to recognize stars as birth-siblings by their unique similarity in chemistry, even if they are on widely dispersed orbits.

Public Outreach

"All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems." - The Little Prince

TED Video: How do we study the stars

TED Video: How to measure distances

Interactive Modules: Interstellar Absorption and the Lyman Alpha Forest


"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." - Albert Camus

Download Resume

Professional Appointment


Carnegie-Princeton-IAS Fellow

A 5-years joint postdoctoral fellowship from Princeton University, Institute for Advanced Study and the Carnegie Observatories.


Postdoctoral Research Associate, Australian National University



Harvard University -- PhD Astrophysics

Advisor: Prof. Charlie Conroy


Ecole Polytechnique, France -- MSE, BSE Engineer's Degree

Diplome D'Ingenieur de l'Ecole Polytechnique
Equivalent to Master's and Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering
Concurrent double degrees from Singapore and France


National University of Singapore -- MSc, BSc Mathematical Physics

Best Physics major in Singapore
Minor in Mathematics
Concurrent double degrees from Singapore and France


"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one." - Charles Mackay

Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (declined) - 2017

Dr. Pliny A. and Margaret H. Price Prize - 2016

Two finishing PhDs awarded internationally

Selected to the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates - 2016

NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship - 2015-16

Malaysian Perdana Scholar Award - 2014

National merit award

Singapore National Academy of Science Award - 2012

Best Physics major in Singapore

Institute of Physics Singapore Medal - 2011

Best Physics undergraduate in Singapore

French Government Eiffel Scholarship - 2008-10

Fully funded for a study in France

Jurong Book Prize, National University of Singapore - 2008

Best freshman/sophomore Physics major

Australian Mathematics Competition Gold Medal - 2005

Top 0.01% among entries from 8 countries

Research Milestones

"People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." - Hermann Goering




First/second authored publications






Seminar/ outreach talks


Conference talks


"I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community ... so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willing to die for such limited imaginings." -- Benedict Anderson

Photospheric diagnostics of core helium burning in giant stars
ApJ submitted

Metallicity fluctuation statistics in the interstellar medium and young stars. I. Variance and correlation
MNRAS submitted

Measuring 14 elemental abundances with R=1,800 Lamost spectra
ApJ submitted

Prospect for measuring abundances of >20 elements with low-resolution stellar spectra
2017, ApJ, 843, 32

Constructing polynomial spectral models for stars
2016, ApJ, 826, 25

Accelerated fitting of stellar spectra
2016, ApJ, 826, 83

APOGEE chemical tagging constraint on the maximum star cluster mass in the α-enhanced Galactic disk
2016, ApJ, 816, 10

Prospects for chemically tagging stars in the Galaxy
2015, ApJ, 807, 104

Constraining the Galactic potential via action-based distribution functions for mono-abundance stellar populations
2013, MNRAS, 434, 652

High resolution elemental abundance analysis of the open cluster IC 4756
2012, MNRAS, 427, 882

Galaxy Zoo: Dust lane early-type galaxies are tracers of recent, gas-rich minor mergers
2012, MNRAS, 423, 59

Galaxy Zoo: Dust and molecular gas in early-type galaxies with prominent dust lanes
2012, MNRAS, 423, 49

Principal component analysis on chemical abundance spaces
2012, MNRAS, 421, 1231


"We cannot work without hoping that others will advance further than we have. In principle, this progress goes on ad infinitum. " - Max Weber

Intermediate Algebra

Princeton Prison Teaching Innitiative
Instructor: Prof. Gillian Knapp, Prof. Jeremy Goodman
Worked as a teaching assistant

Stellar astrophysics

Harvard University
Instructor: Prof. Steven Cranmer
Worked as a teaching assistant


National University of Singapore
In charge of lecturing and tutorial classes

Classical Mechanics

National University of Singapore
In charge of tutorial classes


National University of Singapore
In charge of tutorial classes

Linear Algebra

National University of Singapore
In charge of lecturing and tutorial classes

Abstract algebra

National University of Singapore
In charge of lecturing and tutorial classes

Contact Me

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