NCSA Colloquium: The Physics and Astrophysics of Merging Neutron-star Binaries
Luciano Rezzolla from the Institute of Theoretical Physics will give his NCSA Colloquium, “The Physics and Astrophysics of Merging Neutron-star Binaries.” on Thursday, August 4 at 11:00 am in 1040 NCSA.
The gravitational waves from the merger of a binary black-hole system have just been detected, opening a new window on the universe. I will review the theoretical work in numerical relativity that has made this discovery possible and argue that if black holes represent one the most puzzling results of Einstein’s theory of gravity, neutron stars in binary system are arguably its richest laboratory, where gravity blends with astrophysics and particle physics. I will discuss the rapid recent progress made in modeling these systems and show how the dynamics of a binary of magnetized neutron stars leads to a rapidly-spinning black hole surrounded by a hot and highly-magnetized torus. I will also discuss how the detection of gravitational-wave from these systems will allow us to infer the properties of the equation of state for matter at nuclear densities, and possibly model short gamma-ray bursts.
About the speaker
I am a relativistic astrophysicist, i.e., a physicist who uses Einstein’s theory of general relativity to describe and explain high-energy astronomical observations of black holes and neutron stars. To do this I combine analytical perturbative tools with numerical nonlinear simulations in which I solve the Einstein equations together with those of relativistic hydrodynamics or magnetohydrodynamics. I do this in the endless process of comparing theoretical results and predictions with astronomical observations. I am presently the Chair of Theoretical (Relativistic) Astrophysics at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP) of the Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany. I am also Senior Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute of Advanced Studies (FIAS). Relativistic hydrodynamics is one of my main interests and an incredibly successful framework to describe the dynamics of matter from scales as small as those of colliding elementary particles, up to the largest scales in the universe.