Sean Gunderson earned his PhD in Physics in the fall of 2023 at the University of Iowa, after his B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from North Dakota State University. For his PhD, he developed two theoretical line profile models for the X-ray spectral lines from hot stars observed with Chandra’s High Energy Transmission Grating. The first of these models approaches the problem of hot star wind shocks as originating from surface variabilities rather than inherent wind instabilities, raising questions into the shock generating mechanism. The second model approached the problem by adapting an analytic solution to Herbig-Haro jets for application in accelerating flows. He also used the first observed X-ray satellite emission lines in a single hot star, seen in the nearly 1 Ms Chandra exposure time on zeta Puppis, to develop a way to test the plasma state of the shocked clumps.
His general research interests are in stellar astrophysics, with a focus on hot stars of OB and WR types. His current research interests include X-ray analyses of gamma Cassopeia-type stars, multiwavelength analyses of hot stars, and developing new line profile models for investigating hot star winds.