Astromaterials in Neutron Star Crusts
Matthew Caplan (McGill)
March 11, 2019
Abstract: Stars freeze. After their deaths in supernova the outer layers of neutron stars freeze and form a solid. In some ways this makes neutron stars like the earth, with a thin solid crust enveloping a liquid core. To interpret observations of neutron stars and constrain nuclear theory the ‘astromaterials’ in this crust must be understood. Broadly speaking, this crust has two components. Nuclei form solid crystal lattices near the top. Deeper, at the crust-core boundary, nuclei rearrange and form exotic shapes called “nuclear pasta.” In this talk, I will discuss recent work studying crust replacement in neutron stars in accreting X-ray binaries and simulations calculating elastic properties of nuclear pasta which is now found to be the strongest known material in the universe. In addition, I will comment on YouTube as a platform for education and public outreach.