Research Homepage of Christian D. Ott


I am a computational/theoretical astrophysicist in TAPIR, which is part of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics at Caltech, working at the interface of numerical relativity, nuclear/neutrino astrophysics, and gravitational-wave physics. My current primary research interests are (1) explosions of massive stars in core-collapse supernovae and long gamma-ray bursts and their multi-messenger signatures in neutrinos, gravitational waves, and photons, (2) the formation of stellar mass and supermassive black holes, and (3) binary black hole and neutron star mergers.

I lead the Caltech portion (~20 researchers, including research faculty, postdocs, grad students, and undergrads) of the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration and also work closely with the Einstein Toolkit team.

Another line of my research is concerned with the observation and interpretation of gravitational waves using the LIGO interferometers and I am a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

I am presently leading an NSF CAREER project in Gravitational Physics. I was a 2012-2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

Trainees/Mentees that won national postdoctoral fellowships:
Evan O'Connor (Hubble 2014, Caltech PhD 2012), Christine Corbett Moran (NSF 2015), Philipp Mösta (Einstein 2015), Christian Reisswig (Einstein 2012), Luke Roberts (Einstein 2013).

Postdocs shipped off to faculty positions:
Luke Roberts (Michigan State University, deferred to 2016), Sebastiano Bernuzzi (University of Parma, 2015), Sean Couch (Michigan State University, 2015), Ernazar Abdikamalov (Nazarbayev University, Kasachstan, 2014)

Some background on me:
I entered theoretical astrophysics in 2001 when I was an exchange student at The University of Arizona and met Adam Burrows who trained me in core-collapse supernova theory and in many of the other things it takes to be a scientist. I received a Diploma in Physics from Heidelberg University in 2003 and obtained a Dr. rer. nat. (PhD equivalent) in 2007 at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics under Bernard Schutz's and Ed Seidel's supervision. I was a Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow with Adam Burrows at The University of Arizona before joining Caltech. More details can be found in my CV.

Follow me on Twitter:

Read my blog: Blowing Up Stars

Research Opportunities

Senior Thesis:If you are a Caltech undergrad and interested in doing a senior thesis in Ay or Ph, please come see me! I am happy to advise senior thesis work and have a number of interesting projects available.
Prospective Summer Undergrads:We work with the LIGO REU program. Please see the projects and application procedures listed there. Caltech undergrads should contact me directly about SURF possibilities.
Prospective Grad Students: If you are interested in our research and would like to join us, please apply to the Caltech Astrophysics and/or the Caltech Physics graduate programs. Please do not send me your application materials -- these should go to the graduate program. The admission decision will be made by the graduate admission committees.

Teaching Info

2014/15 Winter term:
Ph136B - Applications of Classical Physics.
Ay101 - Physics of Stars.

2013/14 Spring term: Ay102 - Interstellar Medium.

2013/14 Winter term: Ay190 - Computational Astrophysics.

2013/14 Fall term: Ay121 - Radiative Processes (with Gregg Hallinan)

2013 Spring term:
Ay102 - Interstellar Medium.
Ay190 - Computational Astro (independent study).

2012/13 Fall term. Ay121 - Radiative Processes (with Gregg Hallinan).

2012 Spring term. Ay125 -- High-Energy Astrophysics (with Alan Weinstein).

2010/2011 Winter term. Ay190 -- Computational Astrophysics

2011/2012 Fall term. FS 001 -- Freshman Seminar on Cosmic Explosions and Their Multi-Messenger Signals

2011 Spring term. Ay125 -- High-Energy Astrophysics (with Alan Weinstein).

2010/2011 Winter term. Ay190 -- Computational Astrophysics

2009/2010 Spring term: Section 6 (recitation) of Ph1c Analytic.

2009/2010 Winter term: Ay 215 -- Seminar in Theoretical Astrophysics: Interacting Binaries. Check out the course webpage!

Snapshot from a 3D GR black hole formation simulation (Ott et al. 2011, PRL)

New Stuff (in quasi-chronological order)

  Older News

Some Current Projects and Collaborations

(Complete ADS list), (ADS short-author list only [no LIGO papers]),

Recent Short Author List Work (since 2012):