Campus News

Student Presentation at Gravity Meeting Wins Honorable Mention

Story posted April 08, 2003

Monica L. Skoge '03, Andrew M. Knapp '03, and Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Thomas W. Baumgarte recently attended the 6th East Coast Gravity Meeting (ECGM) March 29-30 at the University of Maryland-College Park.

ECGM is an informal meeting for researchers working in all fields relating to gravity. Talks are given by many of the attendees, and all three Bowdoin representatives gave presentations at the Numerical Relativity II session.

Skoge's presentation received Honorable Mention for the Best Student Talk Award. Her talk "Comparing Criteria for Circular Orbits in General Relativity" placed second to a presentation given by an advanced graduate student currently finishing up his Ph.D. at Maryland.

In fact, Skoge and Knapp were the only two undergraduate speakers at the meetings. Knapp's presentation was "Illustrating Stability Properties of Numerical Relativity in Electrodynamics."

Baumgarte gave the talk "Improved Numerical Stability of the Stationary Black Hole Evolution Calculations."

For more information on the East Coast Gravity Meeting visit

The abstract for Skoge's Best Student Talk Honorable Mention presentation:

We study a simple analytic solution to Einstein's field equations describing a thin spherical shell consisting of collisionless particles in circular orbit. We then apply two independent criteria for the identification of circular orbits, which have recently been used in the numerical construction of binary black hole solutions, and find that both yield equivalent results. Our calculation illustrates these two criteria in a particularly transparent framework and provides further evidence that the deviations found in those numerical binary black hole solutions are not caused by the different criteria for circular orbits.

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