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Astro Candidate Talk
January 25 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Title: The Ages of Stars and Other Stories: Redefining the Standard for 1D Stellar Modeling Across the Mass Spectrum
Abstract: Stellar models are the means by which astronomers infer the ages, masses, and distances of stars, thus setting the first rungs of the cosmological distance ladder and allowing us to peer into the history of our Galaxy and Universe. Recent advances in space-based instrumentation (e.g. Gaia, TESS, SDSS, JWST) promise high-precision data sets comprising millions of stars. However, astronomy has now entered an era in which observational precision eclipses modeling precision by a factor of 10. This means the barrier to more precise fundamental stellar parameters—and hence to progress in astrophysics as a whole—lies in the theoretical and computational domain rather than in the power of our telescopes. Using my studies of Betelgeuse, the Milky Way’s galactic bulge, and other stellar settings as examples, I will discuss the power, limitations, and future of stellar modeling.