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Healy, James

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D: 
Physics, The Pennsylvania State University
Office: 
78-1025
Phone: 
(585) 475-5897
Fax: 
(585) 475-7340
Research: 
Numerical Relativity
Background: 

Through numerical relativity, or the solving of Einstein's equations of gravity using numerical techniques, we are able to evolve a binary black hole (BBH) system from initially two separate and distinct black holes slowly inspirally, until they eventually coalesce and settle down into a single Kerr black hole. Numerical relativity gives us the opportunity to pose the following question: given two initial black holes with some mass, spin, and momentum, what is the final mass, spin, and momentum of the merged resultant black hole, and what does the gravitational radiation emitted from the process look like?

I study a large collection of initial binary black hole (BBH) configurations, including direct plunges to quasi-circular inspirals to even more energetic eccentric orbits. The focus is on the final state of the resultant black hole and the emitted gravitational waveforms. By looking at a wide range of the initial parameter space of BBH systems, we have found some exciting results, including kick velocities as high as 10,000 km/s, final spins very close to maximal, and oscillations in the final mass and spin as the initial angular momentum is increased. I am also interested in the orbital dynamics of highly precessing systems, known as "zoom-whirl" orbits.

Professional Experience

  • 2010 - Postdoc, Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Tech
  • 2006 - 2009 Ph.D., Physics, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2002 - 2006 B.S., Physics, University of Delaware