Christian Cardall
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Thomas Janka
The Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics

Jim Lattimer
Stony Brook University

Jeremiah Murphy
Princeton University

Program Coordinator:
Inge Dolan
(206) 685-4286

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(deadline January 31, 2012)

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INT Program INT-12-2a

Core-Collapse Supernovae: Models and Observable Signals

June 25 - July 27, 2012


Core-collapse supernovae are some of the most energetic explosions in the Universe. As such they play a major role in many astrophysical phenomena, including galactic dynamics, nucleosynthesis, and neutron star and black hole formation. Furthermore, the combination of extreme energetics and densities make these explosions fascinating nuclear and particle physics laboratories. Hence, a solid theoretical framework for the explosion mechanism will greatly illuminate solutions to some of the most important questions in astrophysics and fundamental physics.

The purpose of this workshop is to greatly advance our understanding of the explosion mechanism by fostering collaborations among the theorists, observers, and nuclear and particle physicists. After many years of intense research, SN theorists are starting to converge on viable solutions to the explosion mechanism. At the same time, electromagnetic observations are starting to probe closer to the mechanism, and neutrino and gravitational wave dectectors are coming on line that can probe the mechanism directly. These multi-messenger observations promise to greatly constrain the theory. The time is ripe for these communities to share the latest results, define the next questions in SN research, and begin to constrain the physics of core-collapse supernovae.

Goals and benefits

The main goals and benefits of the program will be:
  1. Fostering exchange between competing groups about the different modeling approaches and partially conflicting results.
  2. Attaining a better understanding of the role of hydrodynamical instabilities, in particular in 3D, in combination with neutrino and nuclear physics in the supernova core.
  3. Solidifying links between the communities concerned with numerical modeling, nuclear and neutrino physics, and astronomical observations including electromagnetic, neutrino, and gravitational-wave signals.
An intense exchange between the involved communities is necessary to make progress towards a better theory of stellar explosions and their consequences. This is highly desirable in view of the growing pool of observational data on supernovae, including faint, transient events that shed new light on stellar explosions, as well as in view of upcoming gravitational-wave measurement possibilities (advanced LIGO will be operational in 2014) and the existing early supernova warning network (SNEWS) of neutrino detectors.


The 5-week "backbone program" will be on Hydrodynamics and Microphysics of the Supernova Explosion Mechanism(s). It will consist of solicited lectures intermixed with presentations of new results, with ample time for collaboration and directed discussions. It is supposed to attract (less than or about 20) participants who would like to stay for the major part of the workshop and intend to make active use of the ideal venue for close and intense interactions. These long-term participants can be members from the modeling groups and from the nuclear and particle physics communities, but may also include representatives from the phenomenology and observational side. A healthy mix of junior (students and postdocs) and senior participants will be desired.

We plan to have two special workshops for 30-50 participants:

July 2-6, 2012, Nuclear and Neutrino Physics in Stellar Core Collapse
There is a mandatory registration fee of $40 due when you arrive for this workshop. Please make your payment in cash -- exact change preferred -- or by check drawn on a U.S. bank. Sorry we cannot accept credit cards.
    Special topics: nuclear and neutrino physics aspects of supernovae, the high-density equation of state, supernova nucleosynthesis, neutrino interactions in dense, hot matter, neutrino oscillations.
July 16-20, 2012, Probing the Supernova Mechanism by Observations:   Schedule
There is a registration fee of $55 to attend this workshop. Please pay in cash - exact change preferred! - or by check to University of Washington. Sorry, we cannot accept credit cards.
    Special topics: supernova progenitors and remnants, observations of electromagnetic signals and radiation transport modeling, searches for transient events, neutrino and gravitational-wave detection.
These events are intended to invite participants who are unable to attend for a longer period. They will be organized in the form of workshop-like sessions of concentrated talks and discussions.


Click here for the Schedule.

Detailed questions to be addressed

For the backbone program:
  • What is the role of hydrodynamic instabilities (SASI, convection, MRI) in the explosion mechanism?
  • What are the crucial differences in the results between 2D and 3D simulations?
  • Can we understand the differences of 2D and 3D results from different groups?
  • How can we compare? Which test problems could clarify numerical differences?
  • Can the outcome of numerical models and theoretical considerations be condensed into a useful "effective theory of the supernova explosion mechanism" with predictive capabilities?
  • What are the major uncertainties in the description of hot and dense supernova matter that are relevant to understanding supernovae?
  • What are the implications of collective flavor conversions and possible sterile neutrinos?
For special workshop on "Nuclear and Neutrino Physics":
  • Do we understand the physics between about 1/100 of nuclear matter density and nuclear matter density?
  • Are light clusters abundant and what is their relevance for the supernova explosion and neutrino emission properties of the proto-neutron star?
  • What are the major (supernova-relevant) uncertainties of neutrino interactions in the supernova core and in correlated nucleon matter?
  • New nuclear physics ingredients for supernova models, in particular for a consistent treatment of stellar matter and neutrino interactions?
  • Does the neutrino-p process happen in supernovae?
  • Are supernovae a site for weak or strong r-processing? Is crucial physics being missed in the numerical models?
For special workshop on "Probing the Supernova Mechanism by Observations":
  • What do observations tell about the progenitor-supernova link?
  • What do observations tell us about supernova asymmetries, and how important is rotation in the SN core?
  • Can observations of explosion asymmetries constrain the explosion mechanism(s)?
  • How do recently discovered faint transients and rare supernova(-like) events challenge our picture of the explosion mechanism(s)?
  • What will we learn from neutrino and gravitational-wave measurements?
  • What are the major uncertainties of stellar progenitor models?
  • What are the prospects for multi-dimensional stellar evolution data for core-collapse modeling?