All meetings and special seminars are on Thursday at 3:30 PM in Dearborn Observatory Room 23. Please contact Fred Rasio if you would like to volunteer to present something or suggest a topic for discussion. We can accommodate any format, from short informal talks on recent research results to journal-club style discussions and special seminars by visitors.

  Spring Quarter 2005

June 9, 2005

This week we have an eclectic mix:

Richard O'Shaughnessy will present a 30-min blackboard tutorial on genetic algorithms, the idea being that one could walk away from the talk knowing how to code up a simple genetic algorithm.

The dynamic trio of Farhad Zadeh, Doug Roberts, and Casey Law will each present a 15-min talk on the Galactic center:
Doug Roberts on "Variability of Sgr A* in radio wavelengths".
Farhad Zadeh on "Multi-wavelegth variability Study of Sgr A*".
Casey Law on "Internal Irradiation of the Sgr B2 Molecular Cloud".

This is the last theory meeting of the 2004-05 academic year.

June 2, 2005

There is no theory group meeting this week as so many people are at the Aspen LISA workshop or at the AAS Meeting.

May 26, 2005

This Thursday we will have a small celebration for all the people in the group who are graduating this year, won prizes, fellowships, new jobs, etc.

This will be followed by a:

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Paulo Freire (Arecibo Observatory)
Title: "Eclipsing Binary Pulsars" [abstract]

May 19, 2005

Today at our theory group meeting, three undergraduate students who have completed honors theses in astrophysics will present their work:

Rachel Scheidegger on "Low Surface Brightness Galaxies in the Coma Cluster"
Mia Ihm on "Eccentricities of Double Neutron Star Binaries"
Laura Blecha on "Close Binary Interations of Intermediate-Mass Black Holes: Possible ULX Sources?"

May 12, 2005

This Thursday we will have 3 short presentations:

Fred Rasio will give the latest update on GRB 050509b, the first short burst discovered by Swift with an X-ray localization!
John Fregeau will discuss the paper "Lithopanspermia in Star Forming Clusters" by Fred Adams and David Spergel [astro-ph/0504648].
Jeremy Sepinsky will talk about the discovery of Westerlund 1, the first Milky Way super star cluster [astro-ph/0504342].

May 5, 2005

Natasha Ivanova will talk about her recent work on X-ray binaries in elliptical galaxies and in globular clusters.
Chris Deloye will give a tutorial on "White Dwarfs in Star Clusters."

April 28, 2005

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Eric Ford (UC Berkeley)
Title: "Bayesian Data Analysis, Adaptive Experimental Design, and Extrasolar Planets"

April 20, 2005

We will meet as a group with Barry Barish on **Wednesday** afternoon, 2-4 pm in Dearborn.

Please note that on **Thursday** at 4pm (Tech L211) Prof. Barish will be giving the last lecture of the Heilborn Lecture Series on "Detecting Gravitational Waves with LIGO."

Vicky Kalogera will present an overview of work done in the group relating to gravitational wave astronomy, and Richard O'Shaughnessy and Ryan O'Leary will present some of their recent results.

April 14, 2005

Verene Lystad will present her work on "Evidence for Planet-Planet Scattering in Upsilon Andromedae" (Nature paper coming out this week!). See [astro-ph/0502441]

Ron Taam will discuss recent Spitzer results on direct infrared detections of extrasolar planets through secondary eclipses (ApJ paper by Charbonneau et al., [astro-ph/0503457]; Nature letter by Deming et al., [astro-ph/0503554])

Large quantities of Swiss chocolate will be provided as usual.

April 7, 2005

First meeting of the Spring Quarter will be held on Thursday, April 7th at 3:30 pm in Dearborn seminar room.

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Carlos Pena-Garay (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ)
Title: "Neutrinos as Astrophysical Probes" [abstract]

  Winter Quarter 2005

March 10, 2005

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Holger Baumgardt (Sternwarte, University of Bonn)
Title: "Massive Black Holes in Dense Star Clusters"

This talk will review our current evidence for intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) in star clusters and show how IMBHs could have formed. Dr. Baumgardt will also discuss the consequences of the presence of a central IMBH for the evolution of star clusters and for the growth of supermassive black holes in galactic centres.

March 3, 2005

This week two graduate students doing observational projects will give talks about their recent work:

Casey Law on Polarization Observations at Radio Wavelengths, mainly in the Galactic Center.
Megan Krejny on Polarization Observations at mm Wavelengths, in the Galacic Center and Star-Formation Regions elsewhere.

February 24, 2005

We will have three short presentations this week:

Ato Gürkan will discuss the paper on "Intermediate-Mass Black Hole and Stellar Orbits in the Galactic Center" by Levin, Wu and Thommes.
Fred Rasio will give an update on the Dec 27 giant flare from SGR 1806-20. See the two recent Nature papers by Gaensler et al. [astro-ph/0502393] and by Cameron et al. (on the radio afterglow, [astro-ph/0502428].
Bart Willems will present a PRL Comment he is preparing with Vicky Kalogera in response to the paper by Piran & Shaviv on "The Origin of the Binary Pulsar J0737-3039B".

February 17, 2005

Vicky Kalogera will talk about the recent paper by Pfahl et al. on "Relativistic Binary Pulsars with Black-Hole Companions".

In the second half of the meeting, Matthew Hurtgen, a postdoctoral fellow in Andrew Knoll's group at Harvard will talk to us about his work in astrobiology. Matthew is also giving the Geology Department colloquium on Friday (Locy 301 at 3:00 PM).

February 10, 2005

We will not be meeting this week as there is a special Physics and Astronomy Colloquium, on "Scaling of Entropic Shear Rigidity," scheduled for 4 pm Thursday in Tech F235.

February 3, 2005

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Bob Benjamin (University of Wisconsin)
Title:"A Look at GLIMPSE: Spitzer's View of the inner Galaxy" [abstract]

January 27, 2005

We will have a conference summary and 2 short journal-club presentations this week:

Genya Takeda on what he has learned, besides surfing, at the 2005 Astrobiology Winter School in Hawaii.
Natasha Ivanova on Adrienne Juett's paper "On the Nature of X-ray Sources in Early-Type Galaxies".
John Fregeau on Eric Pfahl's paper "Binary Disruption by Massive Black Holes in Globular Clusters".

January 20, 2005

Happy New Year!

Our first meeting of the Winter Quarter will be held on Thursday, January 20 at 3:30 pm in Dearborn seminar room.

We will start with some news items from recent conferences, then, at 4 PM, we will have a:

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Shiho Kobayashi (Penn State University)
Title: "Gamma-Ray Burst Early Afterglows in the Swift Era"

  Fall Quarter 2004

December 9, 2004

This week we will start with a brief report by Craig Heinke on the recent discovery of a new X-ray millisecond pulsar. Jamie Lombardi (visiting us from Vassar) will also talk briefly about some recent work on stellar collisions and ultracompact X-ray binary formation in globular clusters.

Then we will have a:
Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Geoff Bower (UC Berkeley)
Title: "The Main Event: A Three Round Fight with Sagittarius A*"

December 2, 2004

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Chris Deloye (Northwestern)
Title: "Arbitrarily Degenerate Donors in Ultracompact Binaries"

November 18, 2004

On this Thursday we will have two informal talks:

Ingrid Stairs (visiting this week from UBC) will talk about "New Wide-Orbit Binary Pulsars."
Ingrid will also tell us about the 22 new millisecond pulsars discovered in Terzan 5!
Bart Willems will present results from his work on "Evidence for Black Hole Birth Kicks".

November 11, 2004

We will have two presentations this week:

AndrČ de Gouvea, on "Extreme high energy neutrinos and the ANITA experiment."
Scott Dodelson, on "[Fictional] Results from the Second Year of WMAP."

November 4, 2004

This week we will be taking our Fall 2005 group photo!
Then we will continue our journal-club discussions of recent papers:

Semyon Chaichenets on "Secular dynamics of the three-body problem: application to the Andromedae planetary system" by Michtchenko and Malhotra (2004, Icarus 168, 237)
Luis Mier y Teran on "Smoothed particle hydrodynamics with radiative transfer in the flux-limited diffusion approximation" by Whitehouse and Bate

October 28, 2004

We will have a journal-club meeting this week, with 3 short presentations:

Chunglee Kim on " The ultimate outcome of black hole - neutron star mergers" by Davies, Levan, and King.
Richard O'Shaughnessy on " Golden Binaries for LISA: Robust Probes of Strong-Field Gravity" by Hughes and Menou.
Semyon Chaichenets on "Secular dynamics of the three-body problem: application to the upsilon Andromedae planetary system" by Michtchenko and Malhotra (2004, Icarus 168, 237).

October 21, 2004

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Prof. Nergis Mavalvala (MIT)
Title:"The LIGO Interferometers: Recent Progress, and What's Next"

Nergis is also giving the Physics and Astronomy Colloquium on Gravitational-Wave Observatories -- Giant Detectors, Precision Measurement, and the Search for the Elusive Waves" on Friday (October 22, 2004).

October 14, 2004

This week two students will give practice talks in preparation for the 14th Midwest Relativity Meeting at the University of Wisconsin:

Jeff Kaplan, on "Precessing Black Hole - Neutron Star Binaries: Upper Limits on Black Hole Spins" Ryan O'Leary, on "Dynamical Evolution of Black Holes in Globular Clusters"

In addition, Mike Muno is visiting us this week and he will give a:

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Dr. Mike Muno (UCLA)
Title:"Young Stars and Stellar Remnants in Chandra Observations of the Galactic Center" [abstract]

October 7, 2004

We will have 3 short journal-club presentations this Thursday:

Bart Willems on "The Origin of the Binary Pulsar J0737-3039B" by Piran & Shaviv (astro-ph/0409651).

Sourav Chatterjee on "The planet in M4: implications for planet formation in globular clusters" by Beer, King, & Pringle (astro-ph/0409762).

Fred Rasio on "The small Blue Straggler star population in the dense Galactic Globular Cluster NGC 6752" by Sabbi et al. (astro-ph/0409001).

September 30, 2004

This week John Fregeau will talk about his recent work on stellar collisions in dense star clusters.

Richard O'Shaughnessy will summarize the recent papers and news reports on Hawking's lost bet, the black hole "information paradox" and all that.

September 23, 2004

First theory group meeting of the Fall!

We will have 3 short presentations:

Verene Lystad on stability of the 3-planet system in Ups Andromedae.
Genya Takeda on the Kozai mechanism in extrasolar planetary systems.
Craig Heinke on Chandra observations of X-ray sources in globular clusters.

September 2, 2004

Special Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar
Prof. Avi Loeb (Harvard University)
Title: "Birth and Dynamics of Black Holes in Galaxies" [abstract]

  Past Seminars