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Lars Bildsten Astrophysicist

Lars 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 Ia supernovae. This encompasses the theoretical study of many different physical phenomena, including thermonuclear instabilities, nuclear reactions, propagating combustion fronts and stellar oscillations. He 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.


The Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, 1999.

The Cottrell Scholar of the Research Corporation, 1998.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 1995.

Director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

Relevant Publications

T. Cunningham et al., "Photoionization Heating of Nova Ejecta by the Post-outburst Supersoft Source," Astrophys. J.,vol. 803, no. 2, pp. 76, Apr. 2015.



Associate Fellow Gravity & the Extreme Universe


University of California, Santa BarbaraDepartment of Physics


PhD (Theoretical Physics) Cornell University

MSc (Physics) Cornell University

BSc (Engineering Physics) Ohio State University


United States

Ideas Related to Lars Bildsten

Symposium Debrief | Cosmology & Gravity

Symposium Brief: Untangling the Cosmos

On May 17, 2017, CIFAR, in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre, held a day-long symposium called “Untangling the Cosmos:...


Exploding Stars

Lars Bildsten discusses exploding stars at the Untangling the Cosmos Symposium.