When a star explodes the BOOM is really big! The largest recorded star explosion was measured in 2015 when a star 100-200 times the size of the Sun exploded, in the galaxy APMUKS(BJ) B215839.70−615403.9 (physicists are not great with names). When ASASSN-2015lh went supernova, it released 10^46 joules or about 100 times more energy than the entire amount of energy the Sun will produce over its lifetime! How do we even begin to understand events that are so big? With math of course and the OSU project ASAS-SN (the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae) project that discovered ASASSN-2015lh.
Dr. Todd Thompson is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies phenomena from core collapse of massive stars to black holes He uses mathematical models to make predictions about how the universe works. He uses what we know about physics here on earth to make predictions about how radiation and pressure allows stars to form within galaxies. Using the same method, he has also looked at how stars explode.
Todd majored in both philosophy and physics; two degrees that have served him well. Outside of being a great researcher, Todd has also been recognized for his teaching with the Alumni teaching award. He is a big advocate of communicating science to the public and works hard to make theoretical physics fun!