Chad Bustard


Hi, and welcome to my website! I'm currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) in Santa Barbara, CA. I was previously an NSF Graduate Fellow at University of Wisconsin - Madison, where in Summer 2020 I completed my Ph.D. on "Cosmic Ray Transport and the Galaxy Gas Cycle" with my advisor Ellen Zweibel and co-advisor Elena D'Onghia.  


My research focuses on plasma astrophysics. More specifically, I explore, through both analytic studies and simulations, how galactic winds expel mass from galaxies and regulate star formation; how energetic particles called cosmic rays launch galactic outflows and shape their multiphase environments; and how cosmic ray propagation can be constrained with observations. I'm also interested in the formation and survival of cold/warm gas in hot, circumgalactic environments, with one fascinating, nearby example being the Magellanic Stream.

Education and Positions Held


Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP), UC-Santa Barbara


University of Wisconsin - Madison


Los Alamos National Laboratory


Rice University

Postdoctoral Fellow

Major projects: Simulations and theory of cosmic ray transport and influence in the multiphase interstellar and circumgalactic medium (with Siang Peng Oh); Simulations of cold gas evolution in the hot circumgalactic medium (with Max Gronke)

Ph.D in Physics, Concentration in Computational Plasma Astrophysics

Thesis: "Cosmic Ray Transport and the Galaxy Gas Cycle"

Awards: NSF Graduate Fellowship, Rodger Doxsley Travel Prize (AAS Winter Meeting 2020), Karl Guthe Jansky and Alice Knapp Jansky Award

Post-Baccalaureate Student Researcher, Theory Division (T-2)

Major project: Simulations of inertial confinement fusion (with Hui Li)

B.S. in Astrophysics and B.A. in Mathematics

Awards: Dessler Prize in Space Physics




Within the broader fields of galaxy evolution and plasma astrophysics, I've focused my efforts on three related topics:

  1. Cosmic rays 

  2. Galactic winds 

  3. Multiphase gas in galaxy halos 

Click on the images below to learn more about these subjects and my specific projects!



Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California - Santa Barbara, Kohn Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93107