Dynamics of binary compact objects: from novel numerical approaches to the creation of heavy elements

  • Compact objects - black holes and neutron stars - are fascinating objects, not only for the astrophysicists, but for a wide range of researchers, including astronomers, theoretical physicists, particle and nuclear physicists, condensed matter physicists and arguably for the layman as well. First theorized in the first part of the twentieth century, for a long time these objects have been considered just exotic ideas or mathematical curiosities. Pulsar were however detected in the late 1960s and readily identified as rotating, radiating neutron stars, while the first candidate black hole, Cygnus X-1, was observed in 1972. Since then the interest in these objects has steadily grown. The reasons behind this interest are easily understood considering that compact object dwell at the intersection of many different areas of physics, and are ideal laboratories to explore the interplay between these areas. Black holes, which are purely gravitational objects, are perfectly suited to study the nature of gravity, its manifestations such as gravitational waves, and the differences between various theories of gravity in the regime where they are expected to be most relevant, i.e. the strong field regime. However, just like any massive astrophysical object, black holes are interested by accretion phenomena, which are thought to be the power source of some very bright astrophysical emitters of electromagnetic signals, such as active galactic nuclei or X-ray binaries. At the same time, black holes exist in a variety of different mass scales, from stellar mass to supermassive black holes billions of times heavier. The latter play a very important and yet not fully understood role in the formation and evolution of galaxies, as well as in shaping the large scale structure of the universe, making them relevant to cosmology as well. Neutron stars share with black holes the characteristic of being gravitationally dominated systems; but because they are composed of baryon matter, they display a much richer behaviour. It has been realized early on that the matter in neutron star cores reaches extreme densities, exceeding the one in atomic nuclei. This means that neutron stars could provide invaluable information on the behaviour of matter in such extreme conditions (which are impossible to achieve in laboratory experiments), such as details of the nucleonic interaction, the properties of hyperons or of quark-gluon plasmas. ...

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Author:Federico Maria GuercilenaORCiDGND
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Luciano RezzollaORCiDGND, Erik Schnetter
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2018/07/05
Year of first Publication:2018
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2018/04/26
Release Date:2018/05/15
Page Number:iv, 212
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 53 Physik / 530 Physik
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht