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Dr. Emily Levesque

Assistant Professor

University of Washington

Dr. Levesque is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2006 and her doctoral degree in astronomy from the University of Hawaii in 2010. She spent five years as an Einstein Fellow and a Hubble Fellow at the University of Colorado in Boulder before moving to the University of Washington in 2015. Her research is focused on improving the overall understanding of massive stars, behemoths that are at least ten times as massive as the sun. By exploring how these stars evolve and how they can be observed in distant galaxies, they serve as valuable tools for understanding the cosmos.

Dr. Levesque is a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Physics, and won the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon prize from the American Astronomical Society, as well as the 2012 Robert J. Trumpler award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for her research on massive stars. As part of this work, she recently led a team in discovering the first observational evidence of Thorne-Zytkow objects, a stellar structure originally predicted in the late 1970's that outwardly resembles a cold massive star but has a neutron star for a core rather than the nuclear fusion core thought to be necessary for producing a stable star. The combination of an outwardly-normal star with a compact core supported by quantum physics phenomena represents a completely new model for the fundamental physics of stellar interiors and a new way of producing the famed "star stuff" that makes up the universe.

Dr. Levesque most recently authored two books: "Astrophysics a Red Supergiants", a professional text, and "Understanding Stellar Evolution" (co-authored with Henny Lamers), a graduate textbook, both to be published by Institute of Physics publishing in October of this year.