Research in Theoretical Astrophysics: Accretion, Structure and Evolution in Gravitating Systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

We propose to undertake a broad programme of research in theoretical astrophysics. This research will be centered around accretion, structure and evolution in many astrophysical systems. Accretion is the process whereby a gravitating body accumulates mass from its surroundings. As the mass falls towards the body it can give up energy in the form of heat and light. Accretion onto a black hole is the most efficient way of extracting energy from normal matter. Astrophysical systems powered by accretion are among the luminous in the universe. Gravity not only powers these systems but determines their large scaled structure and long term evolution. The systems we aim to study cover many length scales, from compact binary star systems which would happily fit inside the Sun to colliding galaxies which consist of many billions of Sun-like stars.

Publications

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Assmann P (2013) A possible formation scenario for dwarf spheroidal galaxies - I. Fiducial model in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Assmann P (2013) A possible formation scenario for dwarf spheroidal galaxies - II. A parameter study in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Assmann P (2013) A possible formation scenario for dwarf spheroidal galaxies - I. Fiducial model in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Bartko H. (2009) EVIDENCE FOR WARPED DISKS OF YOUNG STARS IN THE GALACTIC CENTER in ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL

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Belokurov V (2014) Precession of the Sagittarius stream in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Bonnivard V (2015) Dark matter annihilation and decay in dwarf spheroidal galaxies: the classical and ultrafaint dSphs in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

 
Description DiRAC2: Recurrent Costs for 100 Tflop/s HPC cluster
Amount £391,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/K003259/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2012 
End 01/2016
 
Description DiRAC 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Department Distributed Research Utilising Advanced Computing
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the PI for two research grants for the procurement and running of the Complexity@DiRAC High Performance Computing cluster at the University of Leicester. This cluster is now in active operation as a national HPC facility.
Collaborator Contribution DiRAC is the facility which provides HPC resources for the theoretical astrophysics and particle physics communities within STFC.
Impact The establishment and running of a new HPC cluster at the University of Leicester as part of the DiRAC national facility.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Astronomy Ireland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I spoke to about 100 people at the Astronomy Ireland meeting in November 2013 in Trinity College Dublin.

My talk was very well received and I have been invited to give another talk to this audience at a later date.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.astronomy.ie/lecture201311.php
 
Description BBC Stargazing Live 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentations as part of the BBC Stargazing Live at the National Space Centre and at the University of Leicester, attended by approximately 50 people (2011), 50 people (2012), 300 people (2013), 100 people (2014). The presentation generated lots of questions and discussion from the audience.

Local schools had an opportunity to visit the University which is good for inclusivity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013,2014
 
Description Cafe Scientifique 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I spoke to the Nottingham Cafe Scientifique about various aspects of the research that myself and others are doing with DiRAC. About 40 people attended. I gave a 25 minute presentation which was followed by more than an hour of questions and discussion.

One audience member wrote a blog piece about my talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://nottinghamscience.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/talk-building-galaxies-in-office.html
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Over the course of the four day, more than 600 people attended my talks. The Friday evening presentation was followed by more than an hour of audience questions.

Several audience members contacted me to ask additional questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description School Visit (Dublin) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Approximately 90 primary school students (3 classes) aged 8-12 years old attended my talks in Rathfarnham Parish National School.

Following my visit, a number of students expressed interest in pursuing a career in science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Secular Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Spoke to about 50 members of the Leicester Secular Society.

My talk generated considerable discussion among the members of the LSS.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.leicestersecularsociety.org.uk/calendar/view_entry.php?id=1145&date=20121209