Prof. A.J. Levan (Andrew)

Professor - Astrophysics

Prof. A.J. Levan (Andrew)
Visiting address

Heyendaalseweg 135
Internal postal code: 62

Postal address

Postbus 9010

I am an astronomer with an interest in how stars end their lives. I study their ends in explosions, collapses, mergers and disruptions via the bright emission they often exhibit across and sometimes beyond the electromagnetic spectrum. Through these studies I seek to understand the pathways that lead to these stellar deaths, probe the extreme physics at play, and use the outcomes as bright lighthouses shining to the distant Universe. My current work and some past highlights to which I have contributed include.

1) The discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave source.

2) The identification of the progenitors of both long- and short-duration gamma-ray bursts.

3) Through items 1 and 2, the discovery of the first clear sight for the likely production of many of the most massive
elements in the periodic table, e.g. gold, platinum, uranium etc.

4) The discovery of the most distant gamma-ray bursts, when discovered the most distant objects known in the Universe.

5) The location of relativistic tidal disruption, where stars are disrupted by supermassive black holes and their material then accelerated to near the speed of light.

6) In-depth studies of the environments (for example the host galaxies) of many classes of transients, including gamma-ray bursts, luminous supernovae and tidal disruption events.

My work is predominantly, but not exclusively, observational in nature, and is underpinned by observational programmes with many of the world's premier observatories including the James Webb Space Telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope, the Gemini Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and others.

I chair the Executive Committee for the ENGRAVE consortium, and am responsible for the day-to-day operations of this 250-person collaboration. I am also heaving involved in the Stargate project for gamma-ray burst observations.




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