Neutron stars are astrophysical objects of extremes. They contain the largest reservoirs of degenerate fermions, reaching the highest densities we can observe in the cosmos, and probe matter under conditions that cannot be recreated in terrestrial experiments. In August 2017, the first neutron-star merger has been observed in the gravitational wave and electromagnetic spectrum. This exciting observation provided compelling evidence that these events are an important site for the production of all elements heavier than iron in the universe. Furthermore, the gravitational-wave signal of such events sheds light upon the nature of strongly interacting matter in the core of neutron stars.
To understand these remarkable events, reliable nuclear physics input is essential. In this talk, I will explain how to use Chiral effective field theory and advanced Quantum Monte Carlo many-body methods to provide a consistent and systematic approach to strongly interacting systems from nuclei to neutron stars. I will present recent results for light nuclei and nucleonic matter relevant for astrophysics with controlled theoretical uncertainties, and focus on their application to neutron-star mergers. I will discuss future directions and opportunities.
Host: Jack Harris