Matteo Cantiello

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Welcome to the Home Page of Matteo Cantiello

Petit Prince and Eta Carinae

I am an astrophysicist working as an associate specialist at the KITP (Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics) at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the chief scientist at Authorea.

My research focuses on the evolution of single and binary stars, with a particular focus on the most massive ones. I am especially interested in those stars that are believed to be the progenitors of the most energetic explosions in the universe: supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. To understand these amazing phenomena, I calculate detailed models of stars including the effects of rotation, magnetic fields, pulsations and binary interaction. Stars are self-gravitating spheres of hot plasma, in their interiors various kind of circulation and instabilities take place, in a similar way as hydrodynamical instabilities and circulations occur in the Earth's ocean and atmosphere. The analogy might seem like a stretch, but things like convection, thermohaline mixing and rotational mixing do occur in stars and need to be included in the models.

I am a member of the MESA council: MESA Star is a state-of-the-art, open source code for stellar evolution developed at KITP. I also work on 3D simulations of convection, for which I do use the Pencil code, a high order MPI code for MHD. The SPIDER (Supernova Progenitors, Internal Dynamics and Evolution Research) network for which I am a PI has been recently funded by NASA; this network takes advantage of the expertise of four institutions, spanning stellar evolution, wave phenomena, MHD simulations and connections to observational efforts (e.g. PTF and NASA’s Kepler satellite) in order to "get the progenitors right". I am also a member of the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey consortium, an international collaboration studying an amazing sample of about 1000 massive stars in the LMC cluster 30 Doradus.