Computational Astrophysics and the Dynamics of Accretion Disks

Computational Astrophysics and the Dynamics of Accretion Disks

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James M. Stone, PACM & Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
Fine Hall 214

The ever increasing performance of computer hardware and improvements to the accuracy of numerical algorithms are revolutionizing scientific research in many disciplines, but perhaps none more so than astrophysics. I will begin by describing why computation is crucial for the solution of a variety of problems at the forefront of research in astronomy and astrophysics, with particular emphasis on understanding accretion flows onto black holes. I will outline the challenge of developing, testing, and implementing numerical algorithms for the investigation of these problems. Finally, I will present results that demonstrate how computation can help us understand the basic physics of magnetized accretion disks.