Lars Bildsten

Bio Outline


  • Associate Fellow
  • Gravity & the Extreme Universe


Department of Physics and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics


  • United States


PhD (Theoretical Physics), Cornell University
MSc (Physics), Cornell University
BSc (Engineering Physics), Ohio State University


Astrophysicist Lars Bildsten is director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Bildsten’s research spans the fields of stellar astrophysics, gravitational wave phenomena and observational astrophysics. His current efforts are 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 1a supernovas. This encompasses the theoretical study of many different physical phenomena, including thermonuclear instabilities, nuclear reactions, propagating combustion fronts and stellar oscillations.

Bildsten maintains a strong interest in the prospects for detection of accreting neutron stars in our galaxy and at cosmological distances with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory. He is also avidly engaged in searches for optical transients, some of which are now followed by the Santa Barbara–based Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.


Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society

Cottrell Scholar of the Research Corporation

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship

Relevant Publications

Cunningham, T., Wolf, W.M., & Bildsten, L. (2015). Photoionization Heating of Nova Ejecta by the Post-outburst Supersoft Source. Astrophysical Journal, 803(2), 76. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/803/2/76