Alexander Heger


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

1) Type I X-Ray bursts - the most common thermonuclear explosions in the universe: Numerical accretion onto neutron stars in binary star system and resulting thermonuclear flashes and other transient phenomena; various project options include nuclear physics at the extreme, gravitational settling and phase separation, accretion physics and multi-dimensional simulations, exploration of new nuclear burning regimes, superbursts and long-duration bursts, modelling of specific systems and accretion outbursts, use of statistical tools and ML for comparison to observations. 2) Stellar rotation in binary and multiple star systems, including star-planet interactions: Follow evolution of orbital parameters and internal rotation due to tidal interactions, mass loss, and mass transfer. 3) Evolution and nucleosynthesis of the first stars: Rotation, binary evolution, radiation feedback for cosmic re-ionisation, production of compact remnants and GW sources, use of ML for comparison with observations, adding models and tools


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Life and explosive death of massive stars

The origin of the elements

Nuclear astrophysics

Current work comprises the study of massive to supermassive stars (10-100,000 solar masses); the first generations of stars in the universe (Pop III stars); evolution of rotating massive stars and the spin of their remnants (including predictions for GW sources); mixing and transport processes in the stellar interior; nucleosynthesis and the origin of elements, including galacto-chemical evolution - which elements are made where and when; supernovae (mechanisms and nucleosynthesis); gamma-ray bursts (collapsars and similar models) and their progenitors; modeling of Type I X-ray bursts and superbursts (thermonuclear explosions on the surface of neutron stars); stellar rotation of misaligned systems (internal rotation evolution, binary and mutile stars dynamics and interaction).


Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, 2015 -

Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University, 2012 - 2014.

Associate Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, Univeristy of Minnesota, 2008-2012.

Technical Staff Member, Theoretcial Astrophysics Group (T-6), Theory Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2003-2008.

Fellow, Enrico Fermi Institute, The University of Chicago, 2001-2003.

Alexander von Humboldt Feodor Lynen Fellow, Department of Astronomy, The University of Califrnia at Santa Cruz, 1998-2001.

Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Dr. rer. nat. (TUM), 1995-1998.

Physics Diploma, TUM, 1989-1995.

Supervision interests

PosDoc, PhD, Masters, Honours, Undergraduate Research (e.g., PHS2350, PHS3350), and Summer Vacation Scholar Projects in the areas above.


Happy to help with problems related to Python and numerical applications (Numpy).

External positions

Guest Professor, Tsung-Dao Lee Institute

1 Jan 201831 Dec 2020

Guest Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

1 Jan 201531 Jan 2020

Research area keywords

  • Stars
  • Origin of the Elements
  • Nuclear Astrophysics
  • The FIrst Stars
  • Stellar Rotation
  • Supermassive Stars
  • Accreting Compact Stars
  • Type I X-ray Bursts
  • Stellar Astrophysics
  • Supernovae
  • Stellar Structure and Evolution
  • Hypernovae and GRBs
  • Particle Astrophysics
  • Binary and Multiple Stars


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