University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

UVA Astro welcomes new faculty member: Maryam Modjaz

November 3, 2022

Maryam Modjaz joins UVa Astronomy as Full Professor after being faculty at NYU.

In a form of "stellar forensics" investigation, she and her team of stellar death detectives are pinpointing the stellar progenitors and the explosions conditions that lead to the various forms of stellar death in different kinds of massive stars, be they Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts or the new classes of mysterious transients. She uses some of the largest telescopes on earth, as well as NASA telescopes in space, for her work and is especially excited about the upcoming Vera Rubin Observatory+LSST, which will make a movie of the southern sky and uncover exciting and unknown phenomena. 

Recently, Modjaz and her theory collaborator Prof. Kerzendorf (MSU) received a large NSF grant for unraveling the progenitors of Stripped Supernovae via a synergy between unique early-time observations of Stripped SNe and their detailed spectral synthesis modeling with machine-learning methods. At UVa, she is part of the Exploding Stars and Time-Domain group of faculty. 

She is also passionate about the people behind the science. She is a strong advocate for diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI),  as part of the UVa Astro DEI committee and in her former role as director for DEI at NYU Physics.

Her hobbies include being silly with her 5 year old and dancing, and she is searching for salsa and samba dance spots in Cville.