Black Holes, Neutron Stars and Gravitational Waves

Dr. David Neilsen
Brigham Young University
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational waves will open a new way to observe the universe, and some of the most likely candidates for observation are coalescing black holes and neutron stars.  Two gravitational wave observatories have been built in the United States, and scientists are now examining data from these detectors for black hole signals.  I will discuss some of the physics of gravitational waves, efforts to model black hole and neutron star mergers using supercomputers, and how these models will be used to learn more about the physics of these systems.  Finally, I will discuss the effects that magnetic fields can have on these mergers.