Anacapa to Host World-Renowned Italian Physicist

Visiting UCSB scholar to share his cosmic discoveries at Breakfast Club presentation

An artist's concept of VFTS 102, the fastest-rotating massive star found to date

January 26, 2012  —  Santa Barbara, Calif.

Astrophysicist Matteo Cantiello, a postdoctoral fellow with UC Santa Barbara’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics will be at Anacapa School at 7:50 a.m. on Thursday morning, February 2 as part of Anacapa’s First Thursday Breakfast Club speaker series.  Dr. Cantiello was part of an international team of scientists that recently discovered the fastest-rotating massive star ever recorded.  His First Thursday presentation entitled “Stars: Life, death and the origin of elements” will focus on stars and their essential role in life as we know it.

“Talking about stars, I will also try to give a feeling of the amazing scales of distance and size involved in stellar astrophysics,” Cantiello said about his presentation.  “This will be an interactive talk, so the more questions the students ask, the more they — and I — will learn.”

Dr. Cantiello’s ground-breaking research followed his doctoral work studying the life cycle of our interstellar neighbors.  He theorizes that life on Earth is possible because stars have produced, and continue to synthesize, all of the elements of which all living things are composed.

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Cantiello share his work with our school community” said Anacapa Headmaster Gordon Sichi.  “His passion and determination are apparent, and I am certain his presentation will inspire the bright young minds at Anacapa.”

Anacapa School hosts dozens of expert guest presenters each year.  Each month, the school opens its doors to the wider community to honor a special guest lecturer as part of its First Thursday Breakfast Club series.  Prospective parents who are interested in Anacapa School for their students are welcome to attend to see a Breakfast Club in action.

Matteo Cantiello was born and raised in Tuscany. He attended the Liceo Scientifico Leonardo da Vinci and Liceo Scientifico Enrico Fermi for high school. He obtained a bachelor degree in physics and a master degree in astrophysics from the University of Pisa. His master’s thesis was on the Dynamics of Interstellar Medium. For his PhD, he studied in Holland at Utrecht University. His PhD dissertation was titled Observational Consequences of Unstable Stellar Interiors, which can be found at In September 2011, he moved to Santa Barbara, where he works as an associate specialist at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (UCSB).

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC–accredited, college preparatory day school for students in grades 7-12.  Founded in 1981 by Headmaster Gordon Sichi, Anacapa enjoys the best student-teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of the Santa Barbara civic center.

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