Stockholm university

Anders JerkstrandSenior Researcher

About me

How do massive stars explode? What is the origin of the elements around us, from the light ones like oxygen to the heaviest ones like uranium? How can we learn about distant astrophysical nebulae by combining state-of-the-art knowledge in fundamental physics, advanced computer modelling, and new observations?

These are the over-arching questions we are searching for answers to in my research group. Our research involves the development and application of spectral models for supernovae (massive star explosions) and kilonovae (neutron star mergers). The group in particular focuses on trying to understand how emission lines in these rapidly expanding nebulae form, and how such lines can be used to determine the origin, ejection dynamics, and nucleosynthesis production of explosive transients. This work provides a foundation for understanding the origin of the elements in the Universe. 


I have developed the spectral synthesis tool SUMO (now with a public release) which has been extensively used to model spectra from hydrogen-rich SNe, stripped-envelope SNe, pair-instability explosions, superluminous supernovae, Type Ia supernovae, and kilonovae. In 2020 I led a paper published in Science where we identified emission lines never seen before in any supernova, and showed how this revealed something very unexpected about the origin of bright Type IIn supernovae.


My current research is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, a Swedish National Research Council Establishment Grant, and a Knut and Alice Wallenberg project grant (the last together with S. Rosswog, J. Sollerman, A. Goobar and H. Peiris). Previous research has been funded by a Swedish National Spaceboard Establishment Grant and a European Commission Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship (hosted at MPA Garching).


My research group currently consists of PhD students Quentin Pognan (kilonova modelling), Bart van Baal (3D supernova modelling), and Stan Barmentloo (supernova element production), and post-docs Smaranika Banerejee (kilonova atomic physics), Conor Omand (magnetar-powered supernovae) and Eliot Ayche (interacting supernovae and nonthermal physics). 


Our group collaborates extensively with national and international partners specializing in explosion simulations and nucleosynthesis (MPA Garching, Hamburg U., U. Valencia, AIE Potsdam, Tokyo U.), atomic physics (Uppsala U., Lund and Malmö U., U. Strathclyde), and observations (Stockholm, QUB Belfast, UC California, and Caltech).


I am docent (Reader/Associate Professor) since the end of 2023.


Research projects