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 interest is to find ways to blow up massive stars, that is, make core-collapse supernovae and gamma-ray bursts and their compact remnants, black holes and neutron stars. This work is carried out as part of the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration and we 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 and NSF CAREER project in Gravitational Physics and was a 2012-2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

I received my PhD in 2007 at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics under Bernard Schutz's and Ed Seidel's supervision and then 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.

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Read my blog: Blowing Up Stars

Members of the computational relativistic astrophysics / numerical relativity group at TAPIR:
UndergradsHannah Klion, Lauren Gilbert
Grad students: Sarah Gossan, Hannalore Gerling-Dunsmore, Lena Murchikova, Maria Okounkova, Sherwood Richers (DOE CSGF), Jonas Lippuner, Matt Giesler, Kevin Barkett, Jon Blackman, Mathieu Renzo (exchange grad from Pisa)
Postdocs Sebastiano Bernuzzi, Drew Clausen (DuBridge Prize Fellow), Jim Fuller (DuBridge Prize Fellow), Daniel Hemberger, Philipp Mösta, Viktoriya Morozova, David Radice (Sherman Fairchild Prize Fellow), Christian Reisswig (Einstein Fellow), Luke Roberts (Einstein Fellow), Patricia Schmidt, André da Silva Schneider
Senior ResearchersMark Scheel, Béla Szilágyi
VisitorsJocelyn Read, Geoffrey Lovelace, Uli Sperhake and Steve Drasco (visualization)
Admins:JoAnn Boyd, Nannette Pettis (grant manager)

Ott Research Group Alumni
The SXS collaboration is supported by NSF, DOE, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.

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.
My group is actively trying to increase the representation of women and minorities in theoretical physics and astrophysics. We thus especially encourage women and minorities to apply.

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 2011):