Astrophysicist John Blondin is the new head of the Department of Physics. He succeeds Michael Paesler, who will return to the faculty after six years as department head.
Blondin received a B.A. in physics from the University of Wisconsin and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. He completed postdoctoral research positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Virginia and UNC-Chapel Hill before joining the NC State physics faculty as an assistant professor in 1993. He was promoted to associate professor in 1997 and full professor in 2002. He had served as the department’s director of undergraduate programs since 2007.
An internationally renowned astrophysicist, Blondin has been computing the cosmos for over 20 years, using everything from a laptop to supercomputers. He began his experience in high-performance computing with the opening of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and continues to take advantage of the largest machines currently available, including Ranger at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, with 63,000 processor cores, and Jaguar at the National Center for Computational Sciences, with 224,000 processor cores. His research includes interacting binary stars, accretion disks around black holes, supernova remnants and the origin of supernova explosions. He co-authored the hydrodynamics code VH-1, which is widely used in the astrophysics community.
Blondin has been honored for research and teaching with the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Fellowship, Cottrell Scholar Award and National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a recipient of NC State’s Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award and Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award.