Alan C. Calder


Overview of Research Interests

My research interests are in numerically intensive astrophysics, and I have extensive experience with hydrodynamic modeling of astrophysical systems on a variety of computer platforms including some of the world's biggest supercomputers. I have worked on a variety of astrophysical problems as well as basic physics problems, and the emphasis has always been on multi-physics hydrodynamic modeling.

Currenlty I am working on a variety of problems involving thermonuclear flashes, events of rapid of explosive nuclear burning. These events include Type I X-ray Bursts, Novae, and Type Ia Supernovae. My work on these problems is part of a big collaboration known as the ASC Alliances Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes at the University of Chicago. Most recently I have been working on thermonuclear (type Ia) supernovae, and was part of the discovery of "Gravitationally Confined Detonation" a new mechanism for the explosion.

In addition to my work on the flash problems, I was a co-investigator on a NASA Computational Technologies project to develop an Interoperability Based Environment for Adaptive Meshes with applications to radiation-hydrodynamic models of Gamma-Ray Bursts. The IBEAM project built on the adaptive mesh technology developed by scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center and further developed at the Flash Center. Click here for an article about the project. The image to the left shows a relativistic blast wave interacting with a region of dense material, and it is from one of the first simulations with the relativistic hydrodynamics module developed for IBEAM. The module is based on the PLUTO code written by A. Mignone. The simulation featured Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR), and the grid appearing on the image represents the block-structured adaptive mesh.

In previous lifetimes, I investigated core collapse supernovae and neutron star mergers. These simulations were based on state of the art hydrodynamics and included additional physics such as radiation transport and gravitational radiation. On the pages linked below, I describe the astrophysics of NSMs and the core collapse supernova mechanism, the role of my research in addressing each problem, and plans for future research. I am also interested in future work in other areas of astrophysics, particularly the study of relativistic astrophysics and the physics of compact objects.


Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes
Neutron Star Mergers
Core Collapse Supernovae


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Last modified: December 16, 2006