My mission is to understand the Universe, to inspire the next generation of curious minds, and to help foster productive and emotionally-safe environments.
My group uses both theory and observations to understand which massive stars explode (core-collapse supernovae) and which fizzle, leaving behind black holes. As some of the most energetic events in the Universe, these explosions are connected to a wide array of astrophysical phenomena including: neutron stars, black holes, nucleosynthesis, neutrinos, and gravitational waves. We are developing a theory for the explosion condition; we hope that this work will enable predictions of which stars explode. To constrain these predictions, we also use space-telescope observations to infer the masses of the stars that actually explode.
For our theoretical investigations, we use order-of-magnitude, analytic, and computational methods. For the observations, we use Bayesian statistical inference and space-based telescopes including Hubble Space Telescope and Gaia. Future observations will include the James Webb Space Telescope.
Funding for this research has been supported by: National Science Foundation, Research Corporations for Science Advancement, Space Telescope Science Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory.