I am a Lise Meitner independent Max Planck research group leader at the Max - Planck - Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany. The goals of my group are to understand how we can use fast radio bursts to study ionized media across the Universe and to understand the astrophysical nature of repeating fast radio bursts.

I received my PhD from the Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University in 2012. I grew up in Des Moines, IA and received my B.S. degree with honors in physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa. Since mid-2022 I have been working reduced hours while on maternity leave.

My research focuses on the using transient radio sources, such as fast radio bursts (FRBs), to understand our Universe. Fast radio bursts are microsecond- to millisecond-duration flashes of radio waves generated by a (so-far) unidentified class of astrophysical sources on cosmological scales. Most FRBs have been one-off events, making it impossible to better understand their nature with more detailed follow-up observations. The first exception was FRB 121102 (also known as FRB 20121102A), which I discovered with the Arecibo Observatory. This source is so important to me, I've given it its own page. I have spent the last several years trying to understand the nature of that source by studying the properties of the radio bursts and taking part in a large number of simultaneous observing campaigns.

Now that the field has moved into an era where FRBs are being routinely discovered, I lead a research group that explores how we can best use these sources for studies of the large scale structure of the Universe and cosmology. In addition, we use wide-band, polarimetric measurements of repeating FRBs to better understand their origins.


Email: lspitler AT mpifr-bonn DOT mpg DOT de

Image Credit: Tim Sprenger