Core-collapse supernovae—the explosive final moments of massive stars—are complex, dynamic multiphysics events yielding a bright and energetic explosion and a newborn neutron star or black hole. The central engine of a core-collapse supernova generates rare transient signals in gravitational waves and neutrinos. The explosion creates and ejects many chemical elements, including the primary constituents of the Earth, dominating the production of elements from oxygen to iron throughout the Universe.
The core-collapse supernova problem has been a computational challenge for several decades, and today the world is entering an era in which the well-resolved, symmetry-free, 3D simulations with sufficient physical detail and coupling required to understand these complex stellar explosions and their byproducts are now possible. However, the number of extant 3D simulations with adequate physics is small, and none have been run until the explosion matures more than a second after the proto-neutron star forms.
Hix’s project aims to explore and bring understanding of the impact of stellar rotation on the explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae and the associated observables, as well as the development of the proto-neutron star wind following the onset of explosion. These studies will directly support and guide the experimental efforts at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, expected to open in 2021, and similar facilities by helping to establish the sites of the r-process and p-process.
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