Marc Pinsonneault

Professor of Astronomy

B.S., University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Yale University

My research concentrates on stellar structure and evolution; because many areas of astronomy are influenced by stellar evolution theory, this has led me to investigate a range of subjects. Broadly speaking, my interests can be divided into studies of stellar physics and applications of stellar models to problems of broad astrophysical interest. On the stellar physics side, I am particularly interested in physical processes, such as microscopic diffusion and stellar rotation, which are neglected in standard stellar models. Consideration of these effects can strongly alter some of the predictions of stellar evolution theory. The rapidly advancing field of asteroseismology is also now providing us with novel diagnostics of internal stellar properties, especially in cool stars. Examples include the surface helium abundance, convection zone depth, core mass, and core rotation. On the applications side, I am interested in rotation as a population diagnostic, precision estimates of stellar properties from photometry, and calibrating stellar models and population studies using the asteroseismic tools above. Current research interests include solar models; helioseismology and asteroseismology; stellar populations; cosmology (big bang nucleosynthesis, ages of globular clusters); angular momentum evolution in stars. I am working with both the Kepler Asteroseismology Science Consortium (KASC) and the APOGEE survey of the 3rd Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS.) The intersection between the two (APOKASC) will be a rich treasury combining both abundance and seismic data on a large sample (10,000 stars) in cool Kepler field dwarfs and giants.

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Updated: 2013 January 14