Dr. Michael Pürrer

Astrophysikalische und Kosmologische Relativitätstheorie
Standort Potsdam
+49 331 567-7329
+49 331 567-7298


Compact binary coalescences are one of the most promising sources of gravitational waves for ground-based detectors such as advanced LIGO and VIRGO. This includes binary neutron stars, neutron star - black hole and black hole binaries. Fast and accurate theoretical models of the gravitational radiation emitted from these coalescences are crucial for the detection and extraction of physical parameters which would allow us to test General Relativity in the strong field regime.

My research has focused on modeling the gravitational radiation emitted by coalescing black hole binaries. The construction of waveform models relies on an interplay between the post-Newtonian expansion described the inspiral, numerical relativity simulations for the strong field solution close to the merger of the binary and perturbation theory around the final Kerr black hole. 

I have carried out numerical relativity simulations of spinning black hole binaries at the highest mass-ratios to date. These simulations have proven instrumental for the calibration of phenomenological waveform models.

Effective-one-body models calibrated to numerical relativity simulations describe the waveform emitted from compact binaries very accurately and include many physical details. The waveforms are obtained by integrating a complicated set of ordinary differential equations which makes their direct use too slow for many prime data analysis applications in gravitational wave astronomy.

To address this problem I have constructed reduced order models (ROMs) of effective-one-body models with spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum, accelerating their generation by several thousands. These ROMs are now used as a crucial ingredient for gravitational wave searches and, along with a first effective-spin precessing phenomenological model, for parameter estimation for compact binary coalescences in the first observing run of advanced LIGO.

Research Interests:
  - Reduced order modeling of generic spinning compact binaries described by the
    effective-one-body formalism
  - Reduced order quadratures to further accelerate the computation of likelihoods
  - Parameter estimation of spinning compact binary systems
  - Numerical relativity simulations of black hole binary systems
  - Phenomenological waveform modeling
  - Numerical analysis techniques

Here are links to my publications: from Spires and from the ADS database.


I studied theoretical physics at Vienna University. My doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Aichelburg was on critical collapse and spacetime asymptotics. Before coming to the AEI I was a Postdoc at Vienna University and then at Cardiff
University working with Mark Hannam on numerical relativity simulations and waveform modeling.
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