Research Led by Columbia Astrophysicist Featured in Nature

Research co-authored by Brian Metzger, an astrophysicist in the Columbia University Department of Physics, is featured on the cover of the November 2, 2017 issue of Nature. Metzger’s study is part of a group of papers in the issue that examine merging neutron stars as potential sources of gravitational waves; these have long been predicted to produce jets of material as part of a low-luminosity transient known as a ‘kilonova’.

Metzger’s research focuses on theoretical high-energy astrophysics; he is also the Columbia lead for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, the world’s largest gravitational wave observatory and a cutting-edge physics experiment, which won a 2017 Nobel Prize for detecting gravitational waves.

Recent theoretical work by Metzger, Zsuzsa Marka and Szabi Marka, two other astrophysicists who are part of Columbia’s LIGO research team, helped astronomers observe the collision of two neutron stars for the first time by telling them where to point their telescopes and how to interpret their observations.

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