Strong Gravity

This series consists of talks in areas where gravity is the main driver behind interesting or peculiar phenomena, from astrophysics to gravity in higher dimensions.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

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TBA
Oct 8 2020 - 1:00pm
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TBA
Oct 22 2020 - 1:00pm
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Thursday Sep 17, 2020

Quasars are the most luminous objects in the universe powered by accretion onto supermassive black holes (SMBHs). They can be observed at the earliest cosmic epochs, providing unique insights into the early phases of black hole, structure, and galaxy formation. Observations of these quasars demonstrate that they host SMBHs at their center, already less than ~1 Gyr after the Big Bang.

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Thursday Sep 10, 2020
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Most massive stars spend their lives in so close orbit with a companion star that severe mass exchange or even coalescence is inevitable as the stars evolve and swell. A third of massive stars are thus stripped of their fluffy, hydrogen-rich envelopes, leaving the compact helium core exposed. These stripped stars are so hot that most of their radiation is emitted in the ionizing regime.

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Thursday Jun 25, 2020

The study of compact objects in the strong field regime needs a thorough understanding of the initial value problem in general relativity at the resence of hydrodynamical or magnetohydrodynamical sources. This is a twofold problem that includes general relativistic solutions that represent realistic astrophysical systems at a given moment in time as well as their subsequent evolutions.

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Thursday Jun 18, 2020

The velocity of a gravitational wave (GW) source provides crucial information about its formation and evolution processes.

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Thursday May 28, 2020
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Compact white dwarf (WD) binaries are important sources for space-based gravitational-wave (GW) observatories, and an increasing number of them are being identified by surveys like ELM and ZTF. We study the effects of nonlinear dynamical tides in such binaries. We focus on the global three-mode parametric instability and show that it has a much lower threshold energy than the local wave-breaking condition studied previously. By integrating networks of coupled modes, we calculate the tidal dissipation rate as a function of orbital period.

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Thursday May 14, 2020

To predict the gravitational waves emitted by a black hole binary, one needs to understand the dynamics of the binary in general relativity. No closed form solutions of this problem exist. Instead one must introduce some form of approximation. One such approximation, can be made if one of the components is much heavier than the other, suggesting a perturbative expansion in the mass-ratio. I will review this small mass-ratio (SMR) expansion of the dynamics, and the progress that has been made over the last two decades.

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Thursday Apr 30, 2020
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We comment on the recently introduced Gauss-Bonnet gravity in four dimensions. We argue that it does not make sense to consider this theory to be defined by a set of D->4 solutions of the higher-dimensional Gauss-Bonnet gravity. We show that a well-defined D->4 limit of Gauss-Bonnet Gravity is obtained generalizing a method employed by Mann and Ross to obtain a limit of the Einstein gravity in D=2 dimensions. This is a scalar-tensor theory of the Horndeski type obtained by dimensional reduction methods.

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Thursday Apr 09, 2020
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We discuss several numerical and analytical studies of the modified gravity theory Einstein dilaton Gauss-Bonnet (EdGB) gravity. This class of modified gravity theories admit scalarized black hole solutions. The theory may then provide significantly different gravitational wave signatures during binary black hole merger as compared to general relativity, so that gravitational wave observations may provide new stringent constraints on EdGB gravity.

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Thursday Mar 26, 2020
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With the impressive number of binary black hole mergers observed by the LIGO-Virgo detector network in the recent years, it is now important to understand the formation channels of these systems. This talk focuses on the common envelope phase, crucial to the formation of compact object binaries. During this phase, the two companions evolve inside a shared envelope, with the secondary object orbiting towards the core of the primary star. Drag forces in the stellar envelope pull the two stellar cores into a tighter orbit.

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Thursday Mar 19, 2020
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Observations have shown that nearly all galaxies harbor massive or supermassive black holes at their centers. Gravitational wave (GW) observations of these black holes will shed light on their growth and evolution, and the merger histories of galaxies. Massive and supermassive black holes are also ideal  laboratories for studying strong-field gravity. Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) use observations of millisecond pulsars to detect low-frequency GWs with frequencies ~1-100 nHz, and can detect GWs emitted by supermassive black hole binaries, which form when two galaxies merge.

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