William Raphael Hix
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge
Core Collapse Supernovae: Understanding the Deaths of Massive Stars
Core collapse supernovae are among the most energetic events in the universe, emitting 1046 J of energy,
mostly in the form of neutrinos. Observationally categorized as Type II or Ib/c supernovae, these
explosions mark the end of the life of a massive star and the formation of a neutron star or black hole.
They play a preeminent role in the cosmic origin of the elements and serve as a principle heating
mechanism for the interstellar medium. Numerical simulations of the textbook neutrino-reheating
mechanism for core collapse supernovae frequently fail to match the most fundamental observable property,
an explosion with roughly 1044 J of kinetic energy. Weaknesses in the current generation of models
include inadequate tracking of the neutrino distribution, failure to fully account for the
multi-dimensional nature of the hydrodynamic flows, and/or incomplete nuclear and neutrino physics.
I will discuss recent efforts to reduce each of these limitations, with emphasis on our recent efforts
to improve the treatment of the interactions between leptons and nuclei.
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