After the first hugely successful meeting at UEA last year, this year UCL will host the 2nd meeting of the SPINS-UK Consortium. MSSL has a particularly strong involvement with this event: Prof. Silvia Zane is one of the scientific organisers, whilst postdoc Ziri Younsi along with PhD students Nabil Brice and Tom Kimpson all on the local organising committee. In addition to an extensive programme of scientific talks covering a range of neutron-star related science, there will also be discussion to address Brexit and the impact on scientific research and a public lecture (http://www.spins-uk.net/public-lecture.html) on gravitational waves by Prof. Alberto Vecchio of the University of Birmingham.
Neutron stars are the compact remnants after the supernova explosion of a massive star and are some of the most interesting and extreme objects in astrophysics. Indeed they possess the larges densities and magnetic fields of any known object in the Universe. Whilst their mass is typically comparable to the sun, their radius is only ~10km. Consequently they are exceptionally dense; just a teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh about 1 billion tonnes! In addition, typical magnetic field strengths of a neutron star are up to 100 million times stronger than the largest anthropogenic magnetic fields.
Neutron stars are particularly useful scientific tools from the perspectives of both astrophysics and fundamental physics. Their interiors provide extreme environments for condensed matter physics and the questions around the generation of superfluidity, high densities and high magnetic fields. They can also be used to probe a range of astrophysical environments, inform key questions around stellar and galactic formation and evolution and also be used for precision tests of general relativity. The merger of a neutron star with another neutron star or a black hole is a major source of gravitational waves, whilst isolated neutron stars with ‘mountains’ – some distortion only cm high – can also emit gravitational radiation.
Given the vast array of science that can be done with neutron stars, recently in 2018 a consortium was established to bring together scientists, based in the UK, who undertake research in and around neutron stars: the SPINS-UK (Science Possibilities Investigating Neutron Stars in the UK).
We are thrilled to announce that Prof Alberto Vecchio (University of Birmingham) will be giving this year’s SPINS-UK public lecture.
Alberto Vecchio is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham, and co-Founder and current Director of the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. His work spans many aspects of gravitational-wave science and observations. He is a member of the LIGO Team that detected gravitational waves in September 2015 and discovered the first binary black hole merger. He is Royal Society Wolfson Fellow and co-recipient of the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
Date: 29 May 2019
Venue: Harrie Masse Lecture Theatre, University College London
(preceeded by a wine-and-nibbles reception at 17:00 in the South Cloisters)
Featured Image Credit: LIGO/Caltech