Department of Physics, MH-611
California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92834
+1 (657) 278-7501
The LIGO interferometer in Hanford, Washington. (Photo courtesy LIGO Laboratory.)
Top: Snapshot of two rapidly rotating black holes about to merge. The holes rotate around the shafts of the white arrows; also shown are the holes’ trajectories (pink, blue curves). Bottom: the emitted gravitational wave from this binary (green curve). (Images courtesy Robert McGehee, Jr.)
The common horizon enclosing the horizons of two rapidly rotating black holes just after they have merged.
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at California State University, Fullerton. My current research interests focus on using numerical relativity to model sources of gravitational waves, such as merging black holes. I join assistant professors Jocelyn Read and Joshua Smith in Cal State Fullerton's Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy Center (GWPAC), and I also am a member of the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
At Cal State Fullerton, my research goals focus on modeling sources of gravitational waves using numerical relativity. Gravitational waves—ripples of spacetime curvature—are opening a new window on the universe. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO) has observed the first (and second) gravitational waves passing through Earth, and both came from merging black holes. My students and I use supercomputers to simulate colliding black holes using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC), and we are particularly interested in binaries with high black-hole spins and in responding to LIGO observations. I recently have begun using supercomputers to model thermal noise in LIGO mirrors, with the goal of helping to improve the sensitivity of next-generation detectors.
As a graduate student at Caltech, my research spanned a variety of topics in gravitational-wave physics, including thermal noise in gravitational-wave detectors, black-hole tidal deformation, and reducing orbital eccentricity and spurious gravitational radiation in numerical simulations of binary black holes. Building on this broad introduction, I focused my postdoctoral research at Cornell entirely on numerical relativity: I have simulated merging black holes with the highest spins to date, explored new tools for building physical insight into strongly warped spacetime, and investigated implicit-explicit time stepping as a way to reduce the cost of binary black hole simulations.
My students and I are pleased to thank the National Science Foundation, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, California State University, Fullerton, and Cal State Fullerton alumnus Dan Black. Our research is supported in part by the following external grants:
NSF grant PHY-1606522. RUI: Computational Gravitational-Wave Research for the Era of First Observations.
NSF grant AST-1559694. The CSUF-Syracuse partnership for inclusion of underrepresented groups in gravitational-wave astronomy.
NSF grant PHY-1429873. MRI: Acquisition of a High-Performance Computer Cluster for Gravitational-Wave Astronomy with Advanced LIGO.
Our work has also been supported in the past by the following external grants:
Multi-investigator Cottrell College Science Award. Developing a numerical injection analysis pipeline for gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars.
NSF grant PHY-1307489. RUI: Numerical Simulations of Merging Black Holes and Neutron Stars.
I have taught the following courses:
Physics 300, "Survey of Mathematical Physics", a course that bridges the under-division and upper-division undergraduate physics major courses, introducing key mathematical tools while emphasizing how to think about math like a physicist.
Astronomy 444, "Applications of Gravitation," a new course on applications of general relativity for advanced undergraduate students.
Physics 211, "Elementary Physics," an algebra-based introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics.
Physics 211L, "Elementary Physics Laboratory", the laboratory co-requisite to Physics 211.
Physics 520, "Analytical Mechanics," a master's-level course in classical mechanics and special relativity.
Physics 225, "Fundamental Physics," a calculus-based introduction to mechanics. I am piloting a revision of this course using a flipped classroom, supported in part by the CSU Sustaining Success and Proven Course Resdesign redesign programs.
|Born April 6, 1980, Huntingdon Valley, PA|
|Assistant Professor||Aug. 2012 – present|
|California State University, Fullerton|
|Research Associate||Sep. 2007 – Aug. 2012|
|Postdoctoral Scholar||Jul. 2007 – Aug. 2007|
|California Institute of Technology|
|Ph.D. in Physics||Oct. 2002 – Jun. 2007|
|California Institute of Technology|
|B.S. in Physics||Aug. 1998 – May 2002|
|University of Oklahoma|
|Visiting Associate||Aug. 2012 – present|
|California Institute of Technology|
Download my complete CV, including a publication list and list of presentations, in PDF format.
29. Andrea Taracchini, Alessandra Buonanno, Yi Pan, Tanja Hinderer, Michael Boyle, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Abdul H. Mroue, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Anıl Zenginoglu. “Effective-one-body model for black-hole binaries with generic mass ratios and spins.” Phys. Rev. D 89, 061502 (2014).
28. Ian Hinder et al, “Error-analysis and comparison to analytical models of numerical waveforms produced by the NRAR Collaboration.” Class. Quantum Grav. 31, 025012 (2014).
27. Abdul H. Mroue, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Michael Boyle, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Serguei Ossokine, Nicholas W. Taylor, Anıl Zenginoglu, Luisa T. Buchman, Tony Chu, Evan Foley+, Matthew Giesler*, Robert Owen, Saul A. Teukolsky. “A catalog of 174 high-quality binary black-hole simulations for gravitational-wave astronomy.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 241104 (2013).
The following are a selection of movies from some recent numerical simulations that I have performed using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC) as part of my research in collarboation with the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration. For more, please see the SXS Collaboration's YouTube channel.
A computer simulation of the gravitational waves from the merging black holes that LIGO observed. Our three-dimensional space is shown as a two-dimensional surface, with one dimension removed. The black holes’ strong gravity curves the space near them into funnel shapes. As the black holes spiral together and merge into one, gravitational waves ripple outward. The movie is shown in slow motion, about 40 times slower than real time.
This movie shows two black holes that are spinning very rapidly (about 97% of the theoretical maximum) as they spiral together and merge. The simulation was published in Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Boyle, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi, Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 045003 (2012) (http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.2229), and the movie was rendered by Cornell undergraduate researcher Robert McGehee, Jr.
Merging black holes are among the most promising sources of gravitational waves for the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO). Accurate predictions of the gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes---necessary both for detecting the waves in LIGO data and for estimating the properties of the binaries that generated those waves---can only be constructed using numerical simulations. In this talk, I will review recent progress and discuss current challenges in numerical simulations of merging, spinning black holes. After summarizing recent results (including the effects of black-hole spin on the holes' motion, the remnant hole's mass and spin, and the emitted gravitational waveforms), I will discuss the significant challenges that simulations of spinning binary black holes must still overcome. In particular, I will discuss the challenges of constructing and applying simulated waveforms to gravitational-wave data analysis, particularly when the spins are misaligned (causing orbital and spin precession) and when the holes are spinning near the theoretical maximum.