"Neutron Stars: Cosmic laboratories for theoretical and computational physics" by Kostas Kokkotas
October 6, 2010 - 11:00am
Neutron stars were discovered accidentally in 1967 although their existence was predicted 65 years earlier. These exotic objects are the remnants from the deaths of massive stars, a death marked by one of the most spectacular pyrotechnic events in the cosmos, a supernovae explosion. Neutron stars have a solid crust overlying a sea of neutrons that can flow without friction (superfluidity). Their unique, yet not fully understood, internal structure, together with their immense gravitational field, makes them the perfect laboratory where the physics of the macro-cosmos meets microphysics phenomena. Explosive thermonuclear processes on neutron stars and their colossal magnetic field makes them observable across the electromagnetic spectrum, in radio, x, gamma rays and even in optical wavelengths. As members of binary systems, they are the best candidates for detection of gravitational waves. I will review our current understanding of neutron stars and the challenges in their theoretical and computational modeling.