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Electromagnetic Counterparts to Gravitational Wave Detections: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Observation
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Update time: 2017-05-15
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Title:  Electromagnetic Counterparts to Gravitational Wave Detections: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Observation 

Speaker: Prof. Zachariah Etienne (West Virginia University) 

Time: May 17 afternoon at 2 PM  Wednesday 

Location: Middle Conference Room (3rd floor) 

Abstract:  

LIGO has proven that gravitational waves (GWs) from black hole binary mergers are detectable, and we expect within years it will detect GWs from double neutron star and black hole--neutron star mergers as well. In the extreme violence of merger, intense tidal forces can become sufficient to rip the neutron star(s) apart, which can lead to significant electromagnetic (EM) emission. If detected, a coincident EM and GW observation could for the first time reveal the anatomy of a gamma-ray burst or kilonova and provide the deepest probe yet into the behavior and composition of degenerate nuclear matter. However, the scientific understanding gained from these observations will be limited by the accuracy of our theoretical modeling, which must fully account for the effects of general relativity. To this end, I will review the physics behind current numerical relativity (NR) simulations of these extreme merger events and preview the next generation of NR simulations, which will be capable of predicting not only gravitational wave timeseries with unprecedented accuracy, but also electromagnetic spectra. 

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