Phenomena, Physics, and Puzzles Of Massive Stars and their Explosive Outcomes

Coordinators: Stephen Justham, Selma de Mink, Nathasha Ivanova, and Richard Townsend

Scientific Advisors: Chris Fryer, Ilya Mandel, Coralie Neiner, and Jorick Vink

Recent years have seen great observational developments relating to massive stars, including a significant increase in the known diversity of supernovae, the probing of stellar interiors via space-based astero-seismology, and a widespread recognition that binary interactions are crucial to fully understanding the evolution of massive stars. Gravitational waves detected by Advanced LIGO now provide a spectacular new way to investigate the outcome of massive-star evolution. Studying this population of compact object mergers will drive our understanding of massive stars and their binary interactions.

Theoretical advances have also been made in modelling the relevant physics, with special attention given to simulating various aspects of stellar hydrodynamics — including transport processes, such as radiation dominated convection, violently launched winds, and external hydrodynamic interactions. The evolution of the hot cores as they complete their nuclear burning stages has also received an updated scrutiny. Though theory remains a long way from providing a priori solutions to the full life of a massive star, from birth as a rapidly rotating object to core collapse and explosion, some of the theoretical challenges are now becoming addressable via focused 3D simulations of the radiation-dominated outer convection zones and the winds they launch.

The goal of this conference is to cause vigorous interaction between individuals from different sub-fields, as well as to encourage meaningful confrontation between observations and theories.