Robert Quimby

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU)
University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, 277-8583, Japan

When a star explodes as a supernova, it releases light that can be used to probe the distant universe, atoms that alter the chemistry of future stars and planets, and energy that impacts the evolution of galaxies. My research involves both revealing what these explosions are and using them as cosmic probes.

Thermonuclear explosions of white dwarf stars, known as Type Ia (read "type-one-A") supernovae are the most commonly found--but not most commonly produced--supernovae in the universe, and so far, the most useful cosmic probes.

My dissertation work at the University of Texas uncovered a new variety of supernovae with peak luminosities 10 times brighter than normal Type Ia. I am working to uncover the physical nature of these "superluminous supernovae" and to find ways to use them to study our changing universe out to greater distances than is possible with their fainter, Type Ia cousins.

Publication Highlights

For complete listing of my publications, you can:

  • 2010 Trumpler Award (press release from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific)
  • 2008 Hyer Award (press release from the American Physical Society)
For the General Public