SWS: Dr. Stella S.R. Offner, Physicist (SAO)

Dr. Stella Offner received her BA in Physics and Mathematics from Wellesley College, and her MA and PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

During my first 18 years, I lived in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. I left the state to attend Wellesley College in MA, where I majored in physics and mathematics. I divided my time there between my studies, playing the French horn, and getting off campus.

I spent a year abroad at Oxford University, which was wonderful... unless it was raining. To distract myself from the inclement weather and the hordes of tourists, I began to learn belly dancing. When I returned to Wellesley, I founded a belly dancing society and completed a senior thesis in which I simulated electrorheological fluids in shear flow. This research motivated my interest in computational applications of physics.

To escape the glacial winters of the northeast, I moved to California in 2003 to begin graduate school in physics at UC Berkeley. For my thesis, I performed parallel self-gravitating, radiation-hydrodynamics simulations that happen to make lovely webpage images. While my code was running, I danced in Suhaila Salimpour's Repertoire Ensemble.

For my research I perform computer simulations of how stars like our sun form. I'm very interested in outreach projects, especially those connecting girls and cool science; I've participated in Expanding Your Horizons and Science Club for Girls, and I'm currently a WorldWide Telescope Ambassador. (In this role I introduce people to the WWT at various science fairs and make publicly accessible "tours" on topics related to my research.)

I was an NSF post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Theory and Computation within the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 2009-2012. In 2012 I started as a Hubble Fellow at Yale University.

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