Tony Mezzacappa, ORNL
George Fuller, UCSD

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Nancy Tate
(206) 685-4286

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Open Issues in Understanding Core Collapse Supernovae

June 22 - 24, 2004

Efforts to uncover the explosion mechanism of core collapse supernovae and to understand all of their associated phenomena have been ongoing for nearly four decades. During that time, observations have uncovered an extraordinary array of outcomes, from "ordinary" supernovae to "hypernovae," originating from a range of progenitors and producing a variety of nucleosynthetic yields. In addition, we now have confirmation of an association between core collapse supernovae and gamma ray bursts. The neutrinos predicted from a core collapse supernova event were detected in SN1987A, confirming the basic paradigm we use in our models, and observations of Solar and atmospheric neutrinos tell us that neutrinos have mass and undergo flavor mixing, which has potential significant ramifications for the supernova mechanism, nucleosynthesis, and terrestrial neutrino detection. We have also seen computing power increase steadily and dramatically, with TeraScale computing now a reality and PetaScale computing on the horizon.

Despite all of these developments, our theoretical understanding of core collapse supernovae remains rather limited. Two- and three-dimensional modeling of these events is in its infancy. Most of the modeling efforts over the past four decades have by necessity been constrained to spherical symmetry, with the first two-dimensional, albeit simplified, models appearing only during the last decade. Simulations to understand the complex interplay between the turbulent stellar core fluid flow, its magnetic fields, the neutrinos produced in and emanating from the proto-neutron star, the stellar core rotation, and the strong gravitational fields have yet to be performed. Only subsets of these fundamental ingredients have been included in the models thus far, with gross approximations sometimes invoked.

The purpose of this workshop is to identify the outstanding issues that remain in order to come to a complete understanding of these important astrophysical events. While the workshop will include supernova observers and modelers, experts in fundamental areas such as computational astrophysical hydrodynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, and radiation transport and radiation hydrodynamics will be included so that we may also address the more fundamental issues that need to be addressed before reliable supernova models can be developed.

The workshop will be designed to promote discussion. Workshop presentations will be focused on the overall workshop goal and will be scheduled so as to allow ample time for participant discussion and interaction. This is in keeping with the spirit of the overall INT Program on Supernovae and Gamma Ray Bursts of which this workshop is a component.

Last revised June 8, 2004 - webmaster