Lars Bildsten, professor of physics and KITP permanent member, began serving as director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics on July 1 after an international search. He replaces David Gross, a 2004 Nobel Laureate, who served as director for 15 years.
Bildsten, who works in the field of theoretical astrophysics, came to UCSB from UC Berkeley, where he was an assistant and associate professor in both the Physics and Astronomy departments. Prior to that, he was a research fellow at Caltech. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University in 1991. Throughout his academic and teaching career, he has received various honors, titles, and fellowships, including an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Cottrell Scholar of the Research Corporation, the Helen B. Warner Prize, a Compton Fellowship, and a Fannie and John Hertz Graduate Fellowship. Bildsten was also the Biermann Lecturer at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, the Salpeter Lecturer at Cornell University, and was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The KITP is the first and foremost scientific research facility where theorists in physics and allied fields congregate, for sustained periods of time, to work together intensely on a broad range of questions arising from investigations at the leading edges of science. A study published inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ranked KITP number one in its assessment of the impact of research conducted at a wide variety of different facilities, including national laboratories, research institutes, and major universities considered both as a whole, but also in terms of their individual best departments