Lars Bildsten Named Director of Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

(Santa Barbara, Calif., July 31, 2012) - After an international search for a new director for the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at UC Santa Barbara, the search committee found the best person for the position was already in Santa Barbara: Lars Bildsten, professor of physics and a KITP permanent member. The baton was passed on July 1 from Professor David Gross, a 2004 Nobel laureate, who will remain at KITP as a permanent member.

New Findings Show Some Type Ia Supernovae Linked to Novae

Scientists Publish New Findings about the 'Supernova of a Generation'

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– An international team of scientists, including astrophysicists from UC Santa Barbara, has discovered that a supernova that exploded in August –– dubbed the supernova of a generation –– was a "white dwarf" star, and that its companion star could not have been a "red giant," as previously suspected. The findings are published in two papers in the journal Nature this week.

White dwarf stars are small but very dense stars, and red giants are stars that swell to massive proportions when they approach middle age.

[Read UCSB Press Release] [Read Caltech Press Release]

Unique Eclipsing Binary Star System Discovered by UCSB Astrophysicists

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) - Astrophysicists at UC Santa Barbara are the first scientists to identify two white dwarf stars in an eclipsing binary system, allowing for the first direct radius measurement of a rare white dwarf composed of pure helium. The results will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. These observations are the first to confirm a theory about a certain type of white dwarf star.

New Type of Supernova Explosion Detected Was Predicted by KITP Theoretical Physicists

A class of supernova, discovered by scientists at Berkeley, may be the first example of a new type of exploding star. A team of astrophysicists at KITP and UC Santa Barbara had predicted this kind of explosion in their theoretical work.

Professor Lars Bildsten Awarded Biermann Lectureship

Bildsten has theory supported by NASA

Lars Bildsten, a permanent member of the KITP and professor in the UCSB physics department, has had his theory of neutron stars supported by the results of a NASA study.