Selma de Mink is an assistant professor and MacGillavry Fellow at the ‘Anton Pannekoek’ Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam.
Selma studied Physics and Mathematics at the University of Utrecht and continued for her PhD in astrophysics studying interacting binary stars. After graduating in 2010 cum laude she spend a few months in Bonn at the Argelander Institute in the group of Prof. Dr. Langer.
In 2010 she was awarded one of the prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowships. This allowed her to spend a few years at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md. During her time here she got deeply involved in a large number of observing campaigns with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).
In 2013 she moved to California, to take a combined Einstein & Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship. She was based at The Carnegie Institution for Science: The Observatories and Cahill institute for astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
She returned to the Netherlands in 2014 to become an assistant professor and MacGillavry Fellow at the University of Amsterdam. Here she is continuing a long standing tradition of research in interacting binary systems started by her scientific grandfather Ed van den Heuvel.
Her research interests are wide, ranging from the most massive and luminous stars to the oldest low mass stars in the halo of our galaxy. She is interested in how massive stars form, whether they form alone or with companions and she is interested in how they die and whether they leave behind a neutron star or black hole. Whether they can eject their binary companion to become a runaway star. She studies the impact of stellar rotation and interaction with a binary companion.
The big question that drives her work is the question about our own Cosmic History. How did (massive) stars help to transform the pristine, dark and hostile Universe that was left after the Big Bang into the modern, diverse and precious Universe in which we live today?