Areas of Interest
Ground based interferometer gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO and VIRGO are now operating
at design sensitivities. Development is underway by NASA and the European Space Agency for LISA, a
space based gravitational wave detector. We are at the beginning of a new era in astrophysics
research as these detectors allow us to observe directly the bulk motions of matter in violent
cosmological events such as black hole/black hole collisions. The success of both ground and space
based detectors will require accurate numerical modeling, although for different reasons. Because the
target signals for ground based detectors are very weak, a clear theoretical understanding of the
expected signals is needed to help separate signal from instrument noise. For the space based LISA
detector, collisions between supermassive black holes, each with a billion times the mass of our sun,
are expected to generate very strong gravitational waves that can be detected easily. Accurate
theoretical modeling will be used to filter these large signals from the data stream, and in the process
uncover weaker signals from other physically interesting gravitational wave sources.
I am currently working on a variety of theoretical and computational problems with the goal of improving
numerical simulations of strongly gravitating systems.