COLLOQUIUM: Neutron Stars: Astrophysical Laboratories for Superdense Matter

Speaker: Dr. Prashanth Jaikumar, CSU Long Beach

Topic: ‚ÄúNeutron Stars: Astrophysical Laboratories for Superdense Matter ”

Time: 2 pm, Friday, February 7, 2014

Place: P-148 (refreshments will be served at 1:45 in P-145A)



A hot and viscous phase of quarks, which disappeared microseconds after the Big Bang, has now been successfully recreated in heavy-ion collision experiments. Cold and superfluid quark matter on the other hand, can only be discovered by careful monitoring of neutron stars, the most compact stellar objects observed in Nature. Their interior densities, corresponding to an “Earth mass” squeezed into the size of a small city, can support exotic phases such as Cooper pairs of quarks and Bose condensates of mesons. The appearance of these novel phases can have a dramatic impact on how quickly neutron stars cool down after their birth in a supernova and how fast they spin subsequently. I will also explain the key role played by neutron stars in heavy-element nucleosynthesis via the r-process, highlighting recent computational results from a code called r-Java. Finally, I will detail multi-wavelength observational signatures that can be promising signals for the presence of quark matter in neutron stars, including gravitational waves. The direction and scope of future research opportunities in this area will also be addressed.


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