Selma de Mink is a Dutch astrophysicist. January 1st, 2021, she will start full-time at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching near Munich, Germany, where she has been appointed as a Max Planck Director. She keeps close ties with Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics where she still has a secondary appointment and the Institute for Theory and Computation and Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University where she was an associate professor until 2020.
Her main expertise lies in the area of Stellar Physics but she has wide interests in the broad applications across different fields in Astrophysics. She is most known for her work on the lives, deaths, and afterlives of massive stars, in particular those that interact with a binary companion. She is also interested in the role that massive stars played throughout cosmic time and helped shape the Universe as we know it today. She is particularly eager to answer major questions about how such systems can end their lives as binary neutron stars and black holes, whose mergers can now be detected through gravitational waves.
De Mink received several recognitions for her work. These include her appointment as Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (2020), the Pastoorsmeitsprize (2019) awarded by the Nederlandse Astronoment Club and Kapteyn fund, election as a member of the Dutch Young Academy of Sciences (2018), the Merac prize in theoretical astrophysics (2017) awarded by the European Astronomical Society, a Beller lectureship (2017) awarded by the American Astrophysical Society, an ERC starting grant awarded by the European Research Council for her program BinCosmos (2016). She is also Vidi and Aspasia laureate awarded by the Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO, 2017) and is a former Marie Curie fellow (2015-2017).
Prior to her position at Max Planck, De Mink held faculty positions at Harvard University (2019- 2020, associate prof) and the University of Amsterdam (2014 – 2019).
From 2013-2014 she was a NASA Einstein & Carnegie-Princeton (Lyman Spitzer) Fellow at The Carnegie Observatories and Tapir instute for theoretical astrophyiscs at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). From 2010-2013 she held an NASA Hubble Fellow (2010) at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md and Johns Hopkins University (JHU). She also was briefly an Argelander postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bonn (2010).
De Mink obtained her academic degrees at the University of Utrecht including a PhD in Astrophysics (awarded 2010, cum laude), an MSc in Astrophysics (2004-2005, cum laude), a BSc in Physics (2000-2005, cum laude) and a BSc in Applied Math (2000-2005, cum laude).
Credits: Banner image: E. Buunk (design) and NASA, ESA, F. Paresce, R. O’Connell, and the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee (background HST image).