Prof. Michael Zingale
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, May 2, 2008

Computing the Stars: How Computers Are Used in Astrophysics

Astronomy is an observational science -- we have to take what the Universe gives us. We cannot simply point at a star and ask it to explode, but rather we must patiently observe large numbers of stars and galaxies, in hopes of seeing a supernova. This is in contrast to experimental physics, where we create an experiment and are able to manipulate the setup and observe the physical outcome. One way to overcome these limitations is to use the techniques of computational science to model astrophysical phenomena, and allow for virtual experimentation. In this talk, I will discuss how computers are used in astrophysics, what we might hope to learn, and what the limitations are.

In the next of the popular series Astronomy Open Night, Professor Michael Zingale will discuss the use of computers and simulation in astrophysics. He will highlight his talk with example simulations of exploding stars, supernovae and X-ray bursts, from his own research.

Prof. Zingale is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy in Stony Brook's department of Physics and Astronomy. This is his third year at Stony Brook, coming most recently from a postdoctoral position at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His research is in modeling stellar explosions and the basic physics therein.