Gravitational-wave progenitors / Stellar progenitors of gravitational waves

Special (monographic) lecture at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Summer Semester 2022). 3 ECTS credits.

Lecturer: Dr. Dorottya Szécsi

Time: 2 PM Thurdays. First lecture: 24th Febr. 2022. Last lecture: 9th June 2022

An introduction to gravitational waves and their progenitors (stellar and compact object). Intended for students who either have a general interest in the subject or want to pursue a research project in this field later on.

*** Students Can Register HERE ***

Curriculum includes: Stellar progenitors: massive stars and their astrophysics. Compact object progenitors, black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs. Single stellar evolution. Final stage and explosion. Binary stars. Stellar populations in clusters and galaxies; the computational/statistical method of ``synthetic populations''. General Relativity, linearized Einstein equations, GW-detectors. Connected phenomena: supernovae, gamma-ray bursts. The cosmic gravitational wave background. Cosmology, star-formation in the early, metal-poor Universe.

*** Lecture Notes #1 ***
Content: Introduction, suggested literature, exam rules
Massive stars vs. low-mass stars
The Hertzsprung–Russell-diagram
The 5 stellar structure equations, numerical stellar evolution

*** Lecture Notes #2 ***
Content: Metallicity.
How to measure it. Where to find metal-poor places in the Unverise.
Stellar wind and its dependence on metallicity.

*** Lecture Notes #3 ***
Content: Stellar populations. The Initial Mass Function.
Lifetime of stars.

*** Lecture Notes #4 ***
Content: Compuational stellar evolution. The importance of visualization.
Star-formation. Zero-age main-sequence, main-sequence, post-main-sequence.
The Kippenhahn-diagram.

*** Lecture Notes #5 ***
Content: Internal mixing, convection.
Stellar classification. Black Body radiation.
Explosions. Core-collapse supernovae. Supernova classification.

*** Lecture Notes #6 ***
Content: Stellar corpses. Compact object remnants, degeneracy.
Explosion and remnant types and the function of the IMF.
Wolf–Rayet stars.
Sub-solar metallicities. How metallicity influences the type of explosion.
Pair-instability supernovae. Pulsational-pair-instability supernovae.
The mysterious case of the black holes in GW190521.

*** Lecture Notes #7 ***
Content: Stellar rotation. Rotational mixing.
Chemically-homogeneous evolution.
Collapsar. Gamma-ray bursts.

*** Lecture Notes #8 ***
Content: Binaries.
The Roche-lobe. Terminology of binary evolution.

*** Lecture Notes #9 ***
Guest lecture by mathematician Dr. Áron Szabó:
"An introduction to the mathematics of gravitational waves."
Content: Principles of general relativity. The Einstein equation. Solving the linearized Einstein equation. Gravitational-wave propagation.

*** Lecture Notes #10 ***
Content: Binary mass transfer. The timescales of stellar physics.
Roche-lobe overflow. Orbital evolution.
When the mass-transfer is unstable: Common Envelope evolution.

*** Lecture Notes #11 ***
Content: The binary "cartoons".
Degenerate stars.
High-mass X-ray binaries. Microquasars. Quasars & AGNs.
Jets in astrophysics.
The chemically-homogeneous channel of gravitational-wave progenitors.

*** Lecture Notes #12 ***
Content: Population synthesis. What it is, and how is it different from *detailed* stellar evolutionary modelling?
Binary population synthesis. The initial distributions. Supernova kicks.

*** Lecture Notes #13 ***
Content: Cosmic star-formation history. GW event rate predictions.
GW-detectors, sensitivity. The GW spectrum. The cosmic GW-background. The whispering of the Universe.

*** Lecture Notes #14 ***
Content: Summary of what we learned during the semester. Possible exam questions.

For more information, send an email to dorottya.szecsi at gmail.com

Teaching (2020/2021)

Scientific Writing in Astrophysics

Lecturer: Dr. Dorottya Szécsi
Special lecture series organized by the Nicolaus Copernicus University; students from Uni Köln are also welcome.

NOTE: registration is closed. Confirmation email has been sent to registered participants. If not received, check your Spam directory, or get in touch!

Dates: 28 Nov. 2020 (Saturday), 12 Dec. 2020 (Saturday), 19 Dec. (Saturday)
Time: 9-11 AM, 3-5 PM

Registration: To register for the workshop, please send an e-mail to Ms. Joanna Kozlowska by Tuesday, 17 Nov. 2020

Writing well for the astro-community is a skill to learn. It requires much more than to put words after each other to produce a comprehensible scientific text. Fortunately, there are techniques to help us improve. This 3-days intensive workshop is aimed at grad-students (Master/PhD) who are non-native English speakers. During these lectures, you will not only improve your writing style but also receive tips on how to give effective science talks as well as on how to write competitive job applications. The workshop will be highly interactive, with the online format allowing us to hold practical exercise classes in an international setting, so participants can get to know peers from other countries.

Detailed program:

The course consists of 6 blocks, each a 2-hour lecture. Every lecture will contain a 45-minute presentation and a 45-minute interactive, practical exercise session.
A certificate can be obtained only by those who will have (i) attended at least 5 complete Blocks, and (ii) put effort into interacting with me and each other during the class, and (iii) done and presented the homework.

Outline of the curriculum:

*** Block 1 Lecture Notes ***

– Intro, getting to know each other (useful for the practical exercises where the students will need to interact)
– Basics of writing in proper English scientific language: sentence structure, transitions, built up of a paragraph, the "chain rule".
– Exercise: describe a Figure; what a proper caption should contain and how to achieve it.
– Homework: read through a given research letter and identify its main structural elements.

*** Block 2 Lecture Notes ***

– The body of an article.
– Before you start writing: planning, brainstorming. The importance of practicing writing; dealing with writer's block.
– Exercise: outline a research article / thesis chapter.
– Homework: collect a list of references in a .bib file and create a working latex template with it.

*** Block 3 Lecture Notes ***

– Writing an abstract.
– Discussion on logical arguments, references, peer review, common mistakes.
– Exercise: write an abstract.
– Homework: create a 3-slide presentation on a simple astro-related topic; it should be as eye-catching as possible.

*** Block 4 Lecture Notes ***

– The other type of presenting your work: giving a talk.
– How to engage your audience with your presentation. The importance of practicing in advance (a lot). Tips and tricks on presenting.
– Exercise: present your 3-slide talk in small groups, discuss and give advice to each other.
– Homework: update your CV.

*** Block 5 Lecture Notes ***

– Writing job applications. How to stand out with your application documents. Tips and tricks, common mistakes to avoid.
– How a good CV looks like, what it contains. The mindset of "advertising" your work and yourself via your application documents as an important ingredient of success in one's academic career.
– Exercise: check each other's CVs, give advice. Read and analyse a provided motivation letter.
– Homework: write a motivation letter for your (ideal) next academic position.

*** Block 6 Lecture Notes ***

– Motivation letter and research statement/proposal. Again: standing out, tips and tricks, common mistakes.
– The similarities and differences between writing a paper and writing a research statement/proposal. What the reader expects from a paper and what from a research statement/proposal.
– Exercise: list your 3 strongest skills; add these to your motivation letter.

For more information, send an email to dorottya.szecsi at gmail.com