Di Li

Chief Scientist, Radio Division; Deputy Chief Engineer of FAST
Academic title
Mailing Address
National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, A20 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China,100012 , 100012

Education and Career History

2012.01 - Present          Chief Scientist                                                  Radio Astronomy Division, National Astronomical Observatories of China

2007.01 - 2011.12        Research Scientist                                           Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology

2005.05 - 2006.12       National Research Council Fellow                Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology

2002.02 – 2005.05      Astronomer                                                      Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

2002.02                      Ph.D.: Astrophysics ,                                       Cornell University, Ithaca, NY    

1995.07                     Bachelor of Science: Nuclear Physics,            Beijing University, Beijing, China      

1995.07                     Graduation Certificate: Computer Science,  Beijing University, Beijing, China  

Research Fields

Interstellar Medium

Star Formation

Radio Instrumentation

Pulsar Search

dwarf galaxies



Dr. Li has lead numerous research programs, including spectroscopic and mapping projects of VLA, GBT, Arecibo, FCRAO, SWAS, Spitzer, Herschel, SOFIA and ALMA.


He pioneered several observing and data analysis techniques, including HI narrow self-absorption technique and a new inversion solution to the dust temperature distribution. These techniques facilitate important measurements of star forming regions, such as the formation time scale.


His work has been featured on《Nature》magazine as a research highlight.


He was awarded the National Research Council (US) “residence research fellow” award and was a member of the NASA outstanding team award (2009).


He is now leading the science preparation efforts of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST). He served on the Steering Committee of Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF), is now a co-chair of the “Cradle of Life” science working group (SWG) of SKA,a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Major-facilities Guidance Group, and an adviser to the Breakthrough Listen initiative.

Selected Publication

Tang*, N., Li, D.*, Heiles, C., Yue, N., Dawson, J., Goldsmith, P.F., Krc?o, M., McClure-Griffiths, N., Wang, S., Zuo, P., Pineda, J.  and Wang, J. 2017, “OH Survey along Sightlines of Galactic Observations of Terahertz C+”,  ApJ, 839, 8


Li, D.* , Pan, Z. 2016, “The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope Project”, Radio Science, EGU Publication, Volume 51, Issue 7, p1060-1064


Pan, Z.*, Li, D.*, Chang, Q., Qian, L., Bergin, E.A., Wang, J. 2017, “Large-Scale Spectroscopic Mapping of the r-Ophiuchi Molecular Cloud Complex I. The C2H to N2H+$ Ratio as a Signpost of Cloud Characteristics”, ApJ, 836, 194


Ren, Z.Y. & Li, D.* 2016, “Massive Quiescent Cores in Orion. VI. The Internal Structures and a Candidate of Transiting Core in NGC 2024 Filament”, ApJ, 824, 52


Xu, D. & Li, D.* 2016, “CH as a Molecular Gas Tracer and C-shock Tracer Across a Molecular Cloud Boundary in Taurus”,  ApJ, 833, 90


Xu, D., Li, D.*, Yue, N. & Goldsmith, P. F. 2016, “Evolution of OH and CO-Dark Molecular Gas Fraction across a Molecular Cloud Boundary in Taurus”,  ApJ, 819, 22


Li, D., Xu, D., Heiles, C., Pan, Z., & Tang, N. 2015, “Quantifying Dark Gas”, Publication of Korean Astronomical Society, 30, 75


Qian, L., Li, D., Offner,  S., & Pan, Z. 2015, “A New Method for Constraining Molecular Cloud Thickness: A Study of Taurus, Perseus, and Ophiuchus”, ApJ, 811, 71 


Li, H.-X., Li, D.*, Qian L., Xu D., Goldsmith P. F., Noriega-Crespo A., Wu Y. -F., Song Y. -F., Nan R. -D. 2015, “Outflows and Bubbles in Taurus: Star-formation Feedback Sufficient to Maintain Turbulence”, ApJS, 219, 20


Ren, Z., Li, D.*,  & Chapman, N. 2014, “Massive Quiescent Cores in Orion. V. The Internal Structures and Physical and Chemical Properties of Two Extremely Dense Cores”, ApJ, 788, 172


Li, D, J. Kauffmann, Q. Zhang & W. Chen, “Massive quiescent cores in Orion. IV. Their dynamic state revealed by high resolution ammonia maps” 2013, ApJL, 768, 5L


Qian, L., Li, D.*,  & Goldsmith, P.  2012, “13CO Cores in Taurus Molecular Cloud”, 2012, ApJ, 760, 147


Li, D & Goldsmith, Paul F., “Is the Taurus B213 Region a True Filament?: Observations of Multiple Cyanoacetylene Transitions”, 2012, ApJ, 756, 12


Nan, R,  Li, D., Jin, C., Wang, Q., Zhu, L., Zhu, W., Zhang, H., Yue, Y. & Qian, L. 2011, “THE FIVE-HUNDRED-METER APERTURE SPHERICAL RADIO TELESCOPE (FAST) PROJECT”,  International Journal of Modern Physics D, Volume No.20, Issue No. 6 (arXiv:1105.3794)


Goldsmith, P.F.,  Velusamy, T., Li, D., & Langer, W.D. 2010, Molecular Hydrogen Emission from the Boundaries of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, ApJ, 715, 1370  


Goldsmith, P., Heyer, M., Narayanan, G., Snell, R., Li, D. & Brunt, C., 2008, “Large--Scale Structure of the Molecular Gas in Taurus Revealed by High Spatial Dynamic Range Spectral Line Mapping”, ApJ 680,428


Li, D., Velusamy, T., Goldsmith, P.F. & Langer, W.,  2007, “Massive Quiescent Cores in Orion part II – Core Mass Function”, ApJ, 655, 351


Goldsmith, P.F & Li, D. 2005, HI Narrow Self--Absorption in Dark Clouds: Correlations with Molecular Gas and Implications for Cloud Evolution and Star Formation, ApJ, 622, 938


Li, D. & Goldsmith, P. F. 2003, HI Narrow Self Absorption in Dark Clouds, ApJ, 585, 823


Li, D., Goldsmith, P.F. & Menten, K. 2003, Massive Quiescent Cores in Orion I. Temperature Structure, ApJ, 587, 262


Goldsmith, P. F., Li, D., Bergin, E. A., Melnick, G. J., Tolls, V., Howe, J. E., Snell, R. L., & Neufeld, D. A. 2002, Tentative Detection of Molecular Oxygen in the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud, ApJ, 576, 814


Li, D., Goldsmith, P.F. & Xie, T. 1999, A New Method For Determining the Dust Temperature Distribution, ApJ, 522, 897


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