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Boris Gänsicke

I am a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick and I am currently an ERC Advanced Grant Fellow, leading the WDPLANETS project.

My research is largely focused on the study of white dwarfs, the burnt-out cores of stars with initial masses <10Msun. I am particularly interested in the evolution of planetary systems beyond the main sequence, compact white dwarf binaries and their pathways towards thermonuclear supernovae, and generally observational studies of single and binary white dwarfs. I'm giving an overview into these topics in this short interview, which was recorded as part of the 2023 meeting of the European Astronomical Society in Krakow.

As part of my work, have gained a fair bit of expertise in stellar atmospheres, ultraviolet astronomy, and large-scale astronomical surveys. In particular, I am making very extensive use of the Hubble Space Telescope to study white dwarfs in the ultraviolet, where the rich set of atomic transitions provides unrivalled insight into their physical properties.

I am leading spectroscopic surveys of white dwarfs within DESI, WEAVE, and SDSS-V, which have started taking data in 2020. Over the next five years, these facilities will increase the number of spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs by an order of magnitude. I am also a member of the ZTF-II collaboration, which provides exquisite photometry of the entire Northern hemisphere, ideal to study time-domain phenomena in white dwarf systems. The spectroscopic and photometric data for > 100,000 white dwarfs will enable extremely detailed statistical studies as well as identifying intrinsically rare stars that represent either extremes in physical parameter space, or very short-lived evolutionary phases.

Curious about the end of the world? Have a look at how our solar system may look in a few billion years...

Write to:

Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry, CV4 7AL

Contact Details:

Office: F.48 (Millburn)
Tel:+44 (0)2476574741
Fax:+44 (0)2476692016

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