Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bildsten, Lars
Location University of California, Santa Barbara
Primary Field Astronomy
Secondary Field Physics
 Election Citation
Bildsten thinks deeply about the many ways stars explode. He has analyzed a wide range of physical phenomena-thermonuclear instabilities, propagating combustion fronts, detonations, and stellar oscillations. Bildsten imagined new types of stellar explosions and helped observers find them. He is a leader of physics and of astronomy.
 Research Interests
Dr. Bildsten's research spans the fields of stellar astrophysics, gravitational wave phenomena, and observational astrophysics. His current efforts are focused on theoretical puzzles raised by the remarkable observational progress in time-domain astrophysics; from exploding stars observed in distant galaxies to unusual binaries or pulsating and variable stars found in our own galaxy. His current efforts are focused on the variability from stars much more massive than the sun, both before they explode as a supernovae, and after they are blown apart by energy released from their collapsed core. His early efforts focused on the physics of accreting white dwarfs, with a special focus on the thermonuclear instabilities that lead to explosions on them, including the remarkable Type Ia supernovae. The constant thread in his research for the last decade has been the development and use of the open source stellar structure and evolution computational code, Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA). Available to the international astrophysics community, this ``instrument" for calculation and theoretical exploration has enabled many scientists to become engaged in stellar astrophysics at this time of observational renaissance. He is also avidly engaged in the observational field of time domain astronomy via his long-standing collaborative efforts with the world-wide Las Cumbres Observatory and the Zwicky Transient Facility at Palomar. ~

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