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TAPIR Seminar

Friday, October 7, 2022
2:00pm to 3:00pm
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Online and In-Person Event
No peaks without valleys: (what) can we learn from features in the mass distribution of merging binary black holes?
Lieke van Son, Graduate Student, Department of Astronomy, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian,

Hybrid --

In person: 370 Cahill -- Attendees joining in person must have a valid Caltech UID.

To Join via Zoom: https://caltech.zoom.us/j/89695722750


Gravitational wave observations are revealing new features in the mass distribution of merging binary black holes (BBHs). The BBHs we see merging today could be relics of massive stars that lived in the early Universe, and so we aim to use their properties to help reveal the lives and deaths of massive stars throughout cosmic history.However, linking the properties of merging BBHs to the stellar and binary physics that governs their progenitors is not straightforward, and requires scrutiny of the physics we put in.

In this talk, I will discuss what features are robust and if/how we can use them to constrain the uncertain progenitor physics. I will focus on the lowest mass BHs, just above the edge of NS formation because we find they I) contain crucial information about the most common formation pathway, II) are least affected by uncertainties in the cosmic star formation, and III) shine new light on the much-disputed mass-gap between neutron stars and black holes.

For more information, please contact JoAnn Boyd by phone at 626-395-4280 or by email at [email protected].