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Next-Generation Black Hole and Neutron Star Collision Simulations
  • Speaker:  Zachariah Etienne
  • Start Time: 
  • End Time: 
  • Location:  CCRG Lounge
  • Type: Lunch Talk

Perhaps the most significant astronomical discovery of our lifetimes, code-named GW170817, involved the collision of two incredibly dense dead stars called neutron stars. Notably the collision was detected both by gravitational wave observatories (including LIGO), and by traditional telescopes (that detect light). These stars are similar in many ways to gigantic atomic nuclei, and this "multimessenger" collision alone has yielded unprecedented insights into matter and gravity at their most extreme, far beyond what we can study in laboratories on Earth. However our sparse theoretical understanding of such collisions limit scientific insights gained from such discoveries both now and in the future. There is a critical need to improve existing theoretical models built upon supercomputer simulations of colliding neutron stars and black holes. Such simulations generate full, non-perturbative solutions of the general relativistic field equations (numerical relativity). After a gentle introduction to multimessenger astrophysics and the challenges associated with multimessenger source modeling, I will outline a new approach aimed at greatly reducing the cost of these simulations. With the reduced cost comes the potential to both perform colliding black hole simulations on the consumer-grade desktop computer and add unprecedented levels of physical realism to colliding neutron star supercomputer simulations.