Speaker: S. R. Kulkarni
Institution: California Institute of Technology
Title: Cosmic Explosions
The death of massive stars is a chapter that is just being written. All massive stars die explosively (supernova) and a central compact object. In some cases the supernova are accompanied by bursts of gamma rays at the so-called Gamma Ray Bursts, GRBs). It has been speculated that GRBs are powered by accreting rapidly spinning black holes (central engines). The powerful central engines of GRBs appear to be attractive to TeV, neutrino and gravitational wave observatories. The speaker will summarize the inferred energetics of the central engines and conclude that there is a continuity between ordinary supernovae and GRBs. Separately, GRBs, thanks to their brilliance, can be used as cosmic lighthouses and allow astronomers to study the growth of elements in the early Universe.