Public Lecture

March 24, 2011 · RLM 4.102 · 7:00 PM

Exploding Stars!

Tinsley Visiting Professor

Professor Lars Bildsten

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics & Department of Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara


Stars explode once every second in the Universe, often becoming brighter than their home galaxies. Though most remain undiscovered by astronomers, recently enhanced capabilities to scan the skies now detect over 10 per day. This has revealed new modes of explosions, some much brighter than we expect, and some much fainter. After describing the common outcomes, I will focus on the exciting new discoveries and their novel theoretical interpretations.

Lars Bildsten joined the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Physics Department at University of California, Santa Barbara in July 1999. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from Cornell University in 1991, where he held a Fannie and John Hertz Graduate Fellowship . Bildsten was then at Caltech for three years as the Lee A. DuBridge Research Fellow in Theoretical Astrophysics and received a Compton Fellowship from NASA in spring 1994. He was an assistant and associate professor in both the Physics and Astronomy departments at University of California, Berkeley from January 1995 through July 1999. While there, he was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in 1995 and a Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award in 1997. The Research Corporation designated him as a Cottrell Scholar in 1998. In 1999, he was awarded the Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society. Bildsten was cited for his fundamental work on stellar structure, including nuclear burning on neutron stars, the role of neutron stars as gravity wave sources, and the theory of lithium depletion. He was the 2000 Edwin Salpeter Lecturer at Cornell University and the 2004 Biermann Lecturer at the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics, and is presently a Foreign Associate of the Cosmology and Gravity Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

lars bildsten

Lars Bildsten

snr 0509-67.5

Supernova remnant 0509-67.5 [Chandra]