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How do Gravitational Waves look like? David Radice awarded Giulio Rampa Thesis Prize

June 30, 2014

The 2014 Giulio Rampa Thesis Prize for outstanding research in Mathematical or Numerical General Relativity will be presented to Dr. David Radice in honour of his research on relativistic numerical simulations during his doctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. On November 28, 2014 the prize, valued at €2,000, will be presented in a ceremony at the University of Pavia.

Dr. David Radice Zoom Image
Dr. David Radice

Dr. Radice’s thesis discusses a number of novel numerical approaches dedicated to the solution of the hydrodynamic equations in relativistic regimes. One of the main results is the study of gravitational waves from inspiraling neutron-star binaries, showing that Radice’s numerical code is able to provide more accurate waveforms at a reduced cost compared to previous codes. Having such accurate waveforms is crucial for extract scientific information about neutron star physics from gravitational-wave detections that are expected in the near future.

The committee consisting of Profs. Gerhard Huisken (University of Tübingen, Chair), Lars Andersson (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), and Mauro Carfora (University of Pavia), prepared the following laudation: “The research initiated by Dr. Radice in so many different areas has enormously pushed forward the state-of-the-art in that field, providing new insight and resolving long-standing questions. (…) The large impact that the work of Dr. Radice has already can only continue to grow in the future.”

Modelling high-energy astrophysical phenomena

Strong gravity and relativistic plasma flows are among the fundamental ingredients powering high-energy astrophysical phenomena such as short and long gamma ray bursts, core-collapse supernovae and relativistic outflows from black-hole accreting systems. General-relativistic hydrodynamics is also essential in modelling the merger of neutron stars binaries and black-hole neutron-star binaries that are among the best sources for future gravitational-wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo or KAGRA.

Over the past decade, the understanding of these phenomena has benefited significantly from the results obtained through massive non-linear numerical calculations. Key factors in this progress have been the switch to more advanced numerical schemes that are able to properly treat relativistic shock waves, and the progressive inclusion of more „physics“, such as magnetic fields or realistic equations of state. Following this trend, even better numerical tools and a more accurate physical description are expected to become the key towards a better understanding of these phenomena. Radice’s thesis is remarkable in that he contributed to both of these aspects: he worked towards the inclusion of neutrino radiation and weak interactions into the numerical codes, and at the same time he developed new, accurate and efficient algorithms for the simulation of relativistic systems.

The prize is sponsored by the University of Pavia to honour the memory of Giulio Rampa and is given, every two years, to a graduate student for outstanding research in mathematical or numerical general relativity. The prize has been established in 2011, and is endowed under the terms of a bequest from Nadia and Giorgio Rampa.
The GRT prize carries a certificate and a net check for € 2,000. The prize will be presented at the annual Honours Ceremony during the Inauguration of the Graduate Studies Academic Year in Pavia, on November the 28th 2014.

Dr. David Radice studied mathematical engineering at the Politecnico di Milano. After his master thesis he did his doctoral studies at the AEI in Potsdam-Golm and obtained a PhD with highest praise in 2013. Since 2013 he has been working as a Caltech Prize Fellow in Theoretical Astrophysics and Relativity.

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