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.
During the previous Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics , Bildsten served on two Panels: High Energy Astrophysics from Space and Theory, Computation and Data Exploration. He was an elected member of the Executive Committee of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society in 2000 and 2001 and the Executive Committee of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society from 2003-2005. He has served on many recent NRC panels, including Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics from 2001 to 2005 and the Panel to Review the Science Requirements for the Terrestrial Planet Finder and Committee on Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics toward the Decadal Vision in 2005. He was a member of the NSF's Mathematical and Physical Science Advisory Committee from 2004 until 2007. From 2008 to 2010, he served on the Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey committee.