Multi-messenger observations of neutron rich matter

C. J. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At very high densities, electrons react with protons to form neutron rich matter. This material is central to many fundamental questions in nuclear physics and astrophysics. Moreover, neutron rich matter is being studied with an extraordinary variety of new tools such as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). We describe the Lead Radius Experiment (PREX) that uses parity violating electron scattering to measure the neutron radius in 208Pb. This has important implications for neutron stars and their crusts. We discuss X-ray observations of neutron star radii. These also have important implications for neutron rich matter. Gravitational waves (GW) open a new window on neutron rich matter. They come from sources such as neutron star mergers, rotating neutron star mountains, and collective r-mode oscillations. Using large scale molecular dynamics simulations, we find neutron star crust to be very strong. It can support mountains on rotating neutron stars large enough to generate detectable gravitational waves. We believe that combing astronomical observations using photons, GW, and neutrinos, with laboratory experiments on nuclei, heavy ion collisions, and radioactive beams will fundamentally advance our knowledge of compact objects in the heavens, the dense phases of QCD, the origin of the elements, and of neutron rich matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-459
Number of pages9
JournalProgress of Theoretical Physics Supplement
Issue number196
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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