Schedule Mar 13, 2002
Simulating Black Hole Spacetimes: Successes and Challenges
Dr. Matthew W. Choptuik, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, UBC
With the development of a new generation of gravity wave detectors, we are on the verge of an exciting new era which should at long last produce a confrontation between theory and observation within the context of strong field, dynamical gravity. Astrophysical processes involving black holes in binary systems are thought to be the most likely candidates for early detection via gravitational waves, and thus there has been considerable theoretical effort directed towards the accurate simulation of black hole spacetimes. However, simulating generic black hole interactions is not an easy task, and there are important lessons to be learned and interesting physics to be extracted from the consideration of simpler model problems. In my talk, I will describe numerical studies of models of gravitational collapse in which the threshold of black hole formation exhibits many properties associated with phase transitions in condensed matter systems. I will also outline some of the key obstacles which must be overcome before a more general computational solution to black hole dynamics is in hand.

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