Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
Physics And Astronomy
Searles Science Building
My research has been in relativistic astrophysics and numerical relativity. Because of the nonlinear nature of Einstein's equation of general relativity, many problems of astrophysical interests that involve strong gravitational fields cannot be solved analytically. The goal of numerical relativity is to solve Einstein's equation numerically using computers. Much of my work has been centered around the structure and evolution of black holes and neutron stars and the generation of gravitational radiation predicted by general relativity theory. Over the past decade, I have studied Einstein's field equations in vacuum to model black holes, and also couple these equations to matter sources and the equations of relativistic hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) to model neutron stars, compact binaries and other astrophysical objects. Computational astrophysics can be regarded as using computers to do physics experiments under conditions that are too extreme to be produced by laboratories on Earth. Computer codes that solve the general relativistic MHD equations coupled with Einstein's and Maxwell's equations typically contain more than thousands of lines. It is therefore very important to make sure that there are no mistakes in the coding before any of the simulations can be trusted. I have constructed several analytic test problems to validate the codes I helped developed over the years. In addition, many problems of interest involve a wide range of parameters. It is computationally prohibitive to perform simulations covering all range of parameters. I have therefore also built simple analytic models to study these problems. These models provide insight into what to expect from simulations and under what conditions will likely result in different qualitative outcomes. In the upcoming years, I plan to focus mainly on the analytic work.