The physics of neutron star crusts is vast, involving many different research fields, from nuclear and condensed matter physics to general relativity. This review summarizes the progress, which has been achieved over the last few years, in modeling neutron star crusts, both at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. The confrontation of these theoretical models with observations is also briefly discussed.
Neutron stars and black holes are the astrophysical systems with the strongest gravitational fields in the universe. In this article, I review the prospect of using observations of such compact objects to probe some of the most intriguing general relativistic predictions in the strong-field regime: the absence of stable circular orbits near a compact object and the presence of event horizons around black-hole singularities. I discuss the need for a theoretical framework, within which future experiments will provide detailed, quantitative tests of gravity theories. Finally, I summarize the constraints imposed by current observations of neutron stars on potential deviations from general relativity.
We review the main properties, demographics and applications of binary and millisecond radio pulsars. Our knowledge of these exciting objects has greatly increased in recent years, mainly due to successful surveys which have brought the known pulsar population to over 1800. There are now 83 binary and millisecond pulsars associated with the disk of our Galaxy, and a further 140 pulsars in 26 of the Galactic globular clusters. Recent highlights include the discovery of the young relativistic binary system PSR J1906+0746, a rejuvination in globular cluster pulsar research including growing numbers of pulsars with masses in excess of $1.5\,M_{\odot}$, a precise measurement of relativistic spin precession in the double pulsar system and a Galactic millisecond pulsar in an eccentric (e=0.44) orbit around an unevolved companion.
This article presents a comprehensive overview of numerical hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) in general relativity. Some significant additions have been incorporated with respect to the previous two versions of this review (2000, 2003), most notably the coverage of general-relativistic MHD, a field in which remarkable activity and progress has occurred in the last few years. Correspondingly, the discussion of astrophysical simulations in general-relativistic hydrodynamics is enlarged to account for recent relevant advances, while those dealing with general-relativistic MHD are amply covered in this review for the first time. The basic outline of this article is nevertheless similar to its earlier versions, save for the addition of MHD-related issues throughout. Hence, different formulations of both the hydrodynamics and MHD equations are presented, with special mention of conservative and hyperbolic formulations well adapted to advanced numerical methods. A large sample of numerical approaches for solving such hyperbolic systems of equations is discussed, paying particular attention to solution procedures based on schemes exploiting the characteristic structure of the equations through linearized Riemann solvers. As previously stated, a comprehensive summary of astrophysical simulations in strong gravitational fields is also presented. These are detailed in three basic sections, namely gravitational collapse, black-hole accretion, and neutron-star evolutions; despite the boundaries, these sections may (and in fact do) overlap throughout the discussion. The material contained in these sections highlights the numerical challenges of various representative simulations. It also follows, to some extent, the chronological development of the field, concerning advances in the formulation of the gravitational field, hydrodynamics and MHD equations and the numerical methodology designed to solve them. To keep the length of this article reasonable, an effort has been made to focus on multidimensional studies, directing the interested reader to earlier versions of the review for discussions on one-dimensional works.
We review black-hole solutions of higher-dimensional vacuum gravity and higher-dimensional supergravity theories. The discussion of vacuum gravity is pedagogical, with detailed reviews of Myers–Perry solutions, black rings, and solution-generating techniques. We discuss black-hole solutions of maximal supergravity theories, including black holes in anti-de Sitter space. General results and open problems are discussed throughout.
The problem of describing the quantum behavior of gravity, and thus understanding quantum spacetime, is still open. Loop quantum gravity is a well-developed approach to this problem. It is a mathematically well-defined background-independent quantization of general relativity, with its conventional matter couplings. Today research in loop quantum gravity forms a vast area, ranging from mathematical foundations to physical applications. Among the most significant results obtained so far are: (i) The computation of the spectra of geometrical quantities such as area and volume, which yield tentative quantitative predictions for Planck-scale physics. (ii) A physical picture of the microstructure of quantum spacetime, characterized by Planck-scale discreteness. Discreteness emerges as a standard quantum effect from the discrete spectra, and provides a mathematical realization of Wheeler’s “spacetime foam” intuition. (iii) Control of spacetime singularities, such as those in the interior of black holes and the cosmological one. This, in particular, has opened up the possibility of a theoretical investigation into the very early universe and the spacetime regions beyond the Big Bang. (iv) A derivation of the Bekenstein–Hawking black-hole entropy. (v) Low-energy calculations, yielding n-point functions well defined in a background-independent context. The theory is at the roots of, or strictly related to, a number of formalisms that have been developed for describing background-independent quantum field theory, such as spin foams, group field theory, causal spin networks, and others. I give here a general overview of ideas, techniques, results and open problems of this candidate theory of quantum gravity, and a guide to the relevant literature.
Quantum gravity is expected to be necessary in order to understand situations in which classical general relativity breaks down. In particular in cosmology one has to deal with initial singularities, i.e., the fact that the backward evolution of a classical spacetime inevitably comes to an end after a finite amount of proper time. This presents a breakdown of the classical picture and requires an extended theory for a meaningful description. Since small length scales and high curvatures are involved, quantum effects must play a role. Not only the singularity itself but also the surrounding spacetime is then modified. One particular theory is loop quantum cosmology, an application of loop quantum gravity to homogeneous systems, which removes classical singularities. Its implications can be studied at different levels. The main effects are introduced into effective classical equations, which allow one to avoid the interpretational problems of quantum theory. They give rise to new kinds of early-universe phenomenology with applications to inflation and cyclic models. To resolve classical singularities and to understand the structure of geometry around them, the quantum description is necessary. Classical evolution is then replaced by a difference equation for a wave function, which allows an extension of quantum spacetime beyond classical singularities. One main question is how these homogeneous scenarios are related to full loop quantum gravity, which can be dealt with at the level of distributional symmetric states. Finally, the new structure of spacetime arising in loop quantum gravity and its application to cosmology sheds light on more general issues, such as the nature of time.
Whereas semiclassical gravity is based on the semiclassical Einstein equation with sources given by the expectation value of the stress-energy tensor of quantum fields, stochastic semiclassical gravity is based on the Einstein–Langevin equation, which has, in addition, sources due to the noise kernel. The noise kernel is the vacuum expectation value of the (operator-valued) stress-energy bitensor, which describes the fluctuations of quantum-matter fields in curved spacetimes. A new improved criterion for the validity of semiclassical gravity may also be formulated from the viewpoint of this theory. In the first part of this review we describe the fundamentals of this new theory via two approaches: the axiomatic and the functional. The axiomatic approach is useful to see the structure of the theory from the framework of semiclassical gravity, showing the link from the mean value of the stress-energy tensor to the correlation functions. The functional approach uses the Feynman–Vernon influence functional and the Schwinger–Keldysh closed-time-path effective action methods. In the second part, we describe three applications of stochastic gravity. First, we consider metric perturbations in a Minkowski spacetime, compute the two-point correlation functions of these perturbations and prove that Minkowski spacetime is a stable solution of semiclassical gravity. Second, we discuss structure formation from the stochastic-gravity viewpoint, which can go beyond the standard treatment by incorporating the full quantum effect of the inflaton fluctuations. Third, using the Einstein–Langevin equation, we discuss the backreaction of Hawking radiation and the behavior of metric fluctuations for both the quasi-equilibrium condition of a black-hole in a box and the fully nonequilibrium condition of an evaporating black hole spacetime. Finally, we briefly discuss the theoretical structure of stochastic gravity in relation to quantum gravity and point out directions for further developments and applications.
This article gives an outline of the historical events that led to the formation of contemporary astroparticle physics. As a starting point for analyzing the history of astroparticle physics this article will review the various, yet scattered pieces of historical work that have been done so far. To make the picture more complete it will then give a brief survey of the most important fields that have played a role in the development of astroparticle physics as we know it today. It will conclude with an overview of the historical questions that are still open and the rich philosophical implications that lie behind those questions.
We review the intimate connection between (super-)gravity close to a spacelike singularity (the “BKL-limit”) and the theory of Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebras. We show that in this limit the gravitational theory can be reformulated in terms of billiard motion in a region of hyperbolic space, revealing that the dynamics is completely determined by a (possibly infinite) sequence of reflections, which are elements of a Lorentzian Coxeter group. Such Coxeter groups are the Weyl groups of infinite-dimensional Kac-Moody algebras, suggesting that these algebras yield symmetries of gravitational theories. Our presentation is aimed to be a self-contained and comprehensive treatment of the subject, with all the relevant mathematical background material introduced and explained in detail. We also review attempts at making the infinite-dimensional symmetries manifest, through the construction of a geodesic sigma model based on a Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebra. An explicit example is provided for the case of the hyperbolic algebra E_10, which is conjectured to be an underlying symmetry of M-theory. Illustrations of this conjecture are also discussed in the context of cosmological solutions to eleven-dimensional supergravity.