Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mathematics of Steallar Death

Applied Mathematicians and Astrophysicists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have recently created a simulation of the last few hours of a white dwarf star leading up to a type 1a supernova. regular readers (ha, check it out, I made a funny) may remember me blogging about type 1a supernova earlier in the month. So I felt some obligation to post this awesome new finding about them.

For years type 1a supernova have been a standard candle for astrophysicists because it is theorized that they all blow up the same way, however, we have until now, a good computational simulation of the creation of type 1a supernovas has seemed intractable, which begged the question, "do they really all blow up the same way? if we cant simulate it, perhaps they don't..."

But, Mathematics once again came to the rescue as applied mathematicians Ann Almgren, John Bell and Andy Nonaka of Berkeley Lab's Computational Research Division,  developed MAESTRO, a simulation code of the problem. The real genius behind MAESTRO was to strip out the sound waves making the problem much more efficient and able to run on modern day supercomputers like the Jaguar, the Cray XT4, one of the worlds most powerful supercomputers.

read the full article Here at Science Daily.

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