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Geoffrey Lovelace and Jocelyn Read at their ORCA computing cluster.Geoffrey Lovelace and Jocelyn Read at their ORCA computing cluster.Geoffrey Lovelace has received $126,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation to support the three-year project "RUI: Numerical Simulations of Merging Black Holes and Neutron Stars."

As members of the Simulating Extreme Spacetimes Collaboration, Geoffrey and his students will use supercomputers and the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC) to numerically solve Einstein's equations for binary systems of two black holes or a black hole and a neutron star, simulating the orbital parameters and the gravitational-waves that are emitted as the objects spiral in to each other and eventually merge. This research will provide information about how black holes and neutron stars behave under the most extreme conditions of strong gravity, orbital speeds, and black-hole spin. The gravitational waveforms that are produced will help extend the reach of LIGO and help us to learn as much as possible from the first detections of gravitational waves.

Geoffrey joined the CSUF department of physics as an Assistant Professor in 2012, and has had a very productive first year mentoring students in research, and publishing several papers, and together with fellow GWPAC faculty member Jocelyn Read building the Orange county Relativity Cluster for Astronomy (ORCA), a 240 core supercomputer at CSU Fullerton. This NSF funding will allow Geoffrey and his students to expand their already excellent research.

Congratulations Geoffrey!

The Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center at CSUF, which opened in September 2012, has kicked off its first summer of research with a grand total of 22 students, faculty, and staff. The center brings together three gravitational-wave research groups led by Jocelyn Read, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Josh Smith, focusing on neutron-star astrophysics, numerical-relativity simulations, and LIGO detector characterization, respectively. Along with their research project work, the center members meet as a group for two hours each week. We're starting the summer with a three-week "crash course" on the fundamentals of gravitational-wave science, and will then transition to more detailed research reports from GWPAC members.

 gwpac-group-meetingJocelyn Read presents an overview of neutron star astrophysics at GWPAC group meeting June 27, 2013.

The 2013 GWPAC summer group members are:

Read group:

Jocelyn Read - CSUF Faculty

April Hankins - CSUF Master's Student

Veronica Lockett-Ruiz - CSUF Master's Student (Co-with Smith group)

Ivan Ozaeta - CSUF Master's Student

Eric Flynn - CSUF Undergraduate

Susan Vong - STEM^2 Student and Undergraduate at Citrus College

Brendan Green - Troy High School Student

Lovelace group:

Geoffrey Lovelace - CSUF Faculty

Evan Foley - CSUF Master's Student

Ivan Blanco - STEM^2 Student and Undergraduate at Santiago Canyon College

Haroon Khan - STEM^2 Student and Undergraduate at Santiago Canyon College

Nicholas Trank - Troy High School Student

Smith group: 

Josh Smith - CSUF Faculty

Joseph Areeda - CSUF Staff

Gabriel Islas - CSUF Master's Student

Fabian Magaña-Sandoval - CSUF Master's Student

Cinthia Padilla - CSUF Graduate

Gabriela Serna - CSUF Graduate

Adrian Avila-Alvarez - CSUF Undergraduate

Erik Muniz - STEM^2 Student and Undergraduate at Cypress College

Matthew Russell - STEM^2 Student and Undergraduate at Santiago Canyon College

GWPAC faculty members Geoffrey Lovelace and Jocelyn Read spent the week of July 30th at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara. They were there to attend the KITP conference "Rattle and Shine: Gravitational Wave and Electromagnetic Studies of Compact Binary Mergers." The conference brought together astronomers studying gravitational-wave or electromagnetic (optical, radio, x-ray and gamma-ray) signals, to discuss the inspiral and merger physics of compact binary systems: pairs of neutron stars or black holes that radiate gravitational waves until they collide.

 Geoffrey and Jocelyn in front of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith, director of GWPAC, has received an NSF Career award for his proposed project "Gravitational-wave Detector Characterization and Science Education in the Advanced LIGO Era." This award will provide support over a five-year period for an integrated research and education program in gravitaitonal-wave science for Josh and his students.

There will be a reception to honor Josh on Wednesday, March 27 at 3:30 PM in MH141; refreshments will be provided.

Led by new GWPAC faculty member Geoffrey Lovelace, CSUF students Evan Foley, Matt Giesler, and Iván Ozaeta have begun learning to use the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC) to simulate colliding black holes. 

Simulating black hole mergers

Initial data for two spinning black holes that will fall together from rest and collide head-on. Each hole spins about its center on an axis parallel to the green line. The black-hole horizons are shown, colored by their shape: they are not spherical but bulge in the red regions and are squashed in the blue regions. Figure courtesy Evan Foley.