Davide Gerosa

University of Birmingham

Amplification of superkicks in black-hole binaries through orbital eccentricity

Today’s paper is about superkicks. These are extreme configurations of black hole binaries which receive a large recoil. Black hole recoils work much like those of, say, a cannon. As the cannonball flies, the cannon recoils backwards. Here the binary is shooting gravitational waves: as they are emitted, the system recoils in the opposite direction. In this paper we show that superkicks might be up to 25% larger if the binary is mildly eccentric. This means it’s a bit easier to kick black holes out of stellar clusters and galaxies.

Ulrich Sperhake, Roxana Rosca-Mead, Davide Gerosa, Emanuele Berti.
Physical Review D 101 (2020) 024044.
arXiv:1910.01598 [gr-qc].

Machine-learning interpolation of population-synthesis simulations to interpret gravitational-wave observations: a case study

Gravitational-wave astronomy is, seems obvious to say, about doing astronomy with gravitational waves. One has gravitational-wave observations (thanks LIGO and Virgo!) on hand and astrophysical models on the other hand. The more closely these two sides interact, the more we can hope to use gravitational-wave data to learn about the astrophysics of the sources. Today’s paper with JHU student Kaze Wong tries to further stimulate this dialog. And, well, one needs to throw some artificial intelligence in the game. There are three players now (astrophysics, gravitational waves, and machine learning) and things get even more interesting.

Kaze W.K. Wong, Davide Gerosa.
arXiv:1909.06373 [astro-ph.HE].

ps. The nickname of this project was sigmaspops

Black holes in the low mass gap: Implications for gravitational wave observations

What’s in between neutron stars and black holes? It looks like neutron stars have a maximum mass of about 2 solar masses while black holes have a minimum mass of about 5. So what’s in between? That’s the popular issue of the ‘low mass gap’. Actually, now we know something must be in there. LIGO and Virgo have seen GW170817, a merger of two neutron stars, which merged in to a black hole with the right mass to populate the gap. Can this population be seen directly with (future) gravitational-wave detectors? That’s today’s paper.

Anuradha Gupta, Davide Gerosa, K. G. Arun, Emanuele Berti, B. S. Sathyaprakash
arXiv:1909.05804 [gr-qc].

Escape speed of stellar clusters from multiple-generation black-hole mergers in the upper mass gap

Funny things happen in supernova explosions. Funny and complicated. If the star is too massive, the explosion is unstable. The black hole it formed it not as massive as it could have been. In gravitational-wave astronomy, this means that we should not observe black holes heavier than about 50 solar masses. This does not apply, of course, to black holes that are not formed from stars, but from other black holes (yes! more black holes!). If black holes resulting from older gravitational wave events somehow stick around, they could be recycled in other generations of mergers. We point out that this can work only if their astrophysical environment is dense enough. Can we measure the escape speed of black holes “nurseries” using gravitational-wave events that should not be there because of supernova instabilities?

Davide Gerosa, Emanuele Berti.
Physical Review D Rapid Communications 100 (2019) 041301R.
arXiv:1906.05295 [astro-ph.HE].
Press release: Birmingham.
Other press coverage: interestingengineeringmetro.co.ukMedia INAF (Italian), Great Lakes Ledgersciencealert.

Gravitational-wave detection rates for compact binaries formed in isolation: LIGO/Virgo O3 and beyond.

LIGO and Virgo are up and running like crazy. They started their third observing run (O3) and in just a few months doubled the catalogs of observing events. And there’s so much more coming! In this paper we try to work out “how much” using our astrophysical models. Figure 4 is kind of shocking: we’re talking about thousands of black holes in a few years, and millions of them in 20 years. Need to figure out what to do with them…

Vishal Baibhav, Emanuele Berti, Davide Gerosa, Michela Mapelli, Nicola Giacobbo, Yann Bouffanais, Ugo N. Di Carlo.
Physical Review D 100 (2019) 064060.
arXiv:1906.04197 [gr-qc].

Are stellar-mass black-hole binaries too quiet for LISA?

Spoiler alert: this paper is a bit sad.

Stellar-mass black-hole binaries are now detected by LIGO on a weekly basis. It would be really cool if LISA (a future space mission targeting low-frequencies gravitational waves) could see them as well. We could do a lot of cool stuff, in both the astro and the theory side of things. In today’s paper, we try to figure out how easy or hard it will be to extract these signals from the LISA noise. Well, it’s hard. In terms of the minimum signal-to-noise ratio required, we find that this is as high as 15. The number of expected detection becomes discouragingly low unless the detector behaves a bit better at high frequencies or black holes with 100 solar masses start floating around.

Christopher J. Moore, Davide Gerosa, Antoine Klein.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters 488 (2019) L94–L98.
arXiv:1905.11998 [astro-ph.HE].

Constraining the fraction of binary black holes formed in isolation and young star clusters with gravitational-wave data

Where do black holes come from? Sounds like a scify book title, but it’s real. These days, that’s actually the million dollar question in gravitational-wave astronomy. LIGO sees (lots of!) black holes in binaries, and those data encode information on how their stellar progenitors behave, what they like or did not like to do. This is paper is the latest attempt to understand if black holes formed alone (i.e. a single binary star forms a single binary black hole) or together (i.e. many stars exchange pairs in dense stellar environments).

Yann Bouffanais, Michela Mapelli, Davide Gerosa, Ugo N. Di Carlo, Nicola Giacobbo, Emanuele Berti, Vishal Baibhav.
arXiv:1905.11054 [astro-ph.HE].

Surrogate models for precessing binary black hole simulations with unequal masses

Surrogate models are the best of both worlds. Numerical-relativity simulations are accurate but take forever. Waveform models have larger errors but can be computed cheaply, which means they can be used in the real world and compared with data. Surrogates are as fast as the approximate waform models, but as accurate as the numerical-relativity simulations they are trained on. Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you, this does sound impossible. Check out our new paper, where we pushed this effort to binaries with spins and more unequal masses.

Vijay Varma, Scott E. Field, Mark A. Scheel, Jonathan Blackman, Davide Gerosa, Leo C. Stein, Lawrence E. Kidder, Harald P. Pfeiffer.
arXiv:1905.09300 [gr-qc].

Multiband gravitational-wave event rates and stellar physics

The prospect of multiband gravitational-wave astronomy is so so so exciting (I mean, really!). So exciting that we want to make sure once again it’s true; and this is today’s paper. Multiband means seeing the same black hole binary with both LIGO at high frequencies and LISA at low frequencies. LISA observations can serve as precursors for the LIGO mergers, and you can a whole lot of new science (astrophysics, tests of GR, smart data analysis, cosmology, etc). Here we have a new semi-analytic way to estimate the rate (i.e. how many) of multiband events, and we also explore some of the stellar physics one could constraint with them. Enjoy!

Davide Gerosa, Sizheng Ma, Kaze W.K. Wong, Emanuele Berti, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Yanbei Chen, Krzysztof Belczynski
Physical Review D 99 (2019) 103004.
arXiv:1902.00021 [astro-ph.HE].
Supporting material available here.

The binary black hole explorer: on-the-fly visualizations of precessing binary black holes

As you can imagine, I’m kind of obsessed with black hole binaries. So easy (let’s face it, a black hole is easy! Just mass and spin), but at the same time so terribly complicated… Happy to present our attempt to see the binary dynamics in real time. Technical blah blah: we attach a visualization tool to a numerical relativity surrogate model. Are you ready to be a binary black hole explorer?


ps. Kids can have fun with black holes too! From mikesmathpage.

Vijay Varma, Leo C. Stein, Davide Gerosa.
Classical and Quantum Gravity 36 (2019) 9, 095007.
arXiv:1811.06552 [astro-ph.HE].
Supporting material available here.

Wide nutation: binary black-hole spins repeatedly oscillating from full alignment to full anti-alignment

Latest in the series of our spin-precession papers, here we found a thing that was worthy of a new name: wide nutation (we had wide precession before, but this is better). These are black-hole binary configurations where the angle between any of the two spins and the orbital angular momentum changes a lot. Can’t change more actually: spins goes from full alignment to full anti-alignment. And they do it many times.

ps. We found this wide precession during Alicia’s SURF undergraduate summer project at Caltech. Jackpot!

Davide Gerosa, Alicia Lima, Emanuele Berti, Ulrich Sperhake, Michael Kesden, Richard O’Shaughnessy.
Classical and Quantum Gravity 36 (2019) 10, 105003.
arXiv:1811.05979 [gr-qc].
Supporting material available here.

High-accuracy mass, spin, and recoil predictions of generic black-hole merger remnants

Black hole mergers are like a scattering problem. Two black holes come in, and one black hole comes out. The difference is a bunch of gravitational waves. Those are nice, of course, but the remnant black hole is important too! Here we provide accurate predictions of the mass, spin and kick of this remnant given the properties of the two merging black holes. If you need those numbers (want to build a waveform family? or test GR perhaps?) just use our python module surfinBH!


Bonus note. What if you collide ducks instead of black holes? 

Vijay Varma, Davide Gerosa, François Hébert, Leo C. Stein, Hao Zhang.
Physical Review Letters 122 (2019) 011101.
arXiv:1809.09125 [gr-qc]
Press release: CaltechOle Miss.
Other press coverage: Space Dailyphys.orglongroomtasnimeuropapress (Spanish), Media INAF (video in Italian).

Frequency-domain waveform approximants capturing Doppler shifts

We all know Doppler shifts, right? That’s like the biibouuubiiiiboouuuuuu of an ambulance. That happens to gravitational waves as well. Suppose you have a merging binary which is emitting gravitational waves (bibooou). If that binary is going somewhere (say it’s falling into the gravitational potential of a third body), much like the ambulance, the emitted signal will be Doppler shifted. This paper shows a very nice calculation to incorporate Doppler shifts into gravitational waves.

ps. This started out as Katie’s undergraduate summer project at Caltech. Congrats Katie!

Katie Chamberlain, Christopher J. Moore, Davide Gerosa, Nicolas Yunes.
Physical Review D 99 (2019) 024025.
arXiv:1809.04799 [gr-qc].

Spin orientations of merging black holes formed from the evolution of stellar binaries

Today’s paper celebrates the wedding of startrack and precession (the nickname for this project was pretrack 😉 ). We use population synthesis evolution from startrack to predict the parameters of spinning black-hole binaries observed by LIGO. The spin distribution is then propagated from formation to detection using post-Newtonian evolutions from my precession code. The bottom line is that spin measurements can be used to truly reconstruct the binary formation channels, and some specific mechanisms (like mass transfers, tides, natal kicks, supernova’s instabilities etc.). Our database is publicly available (play with it!), as well as a little code to compute gravitational-wave detectabilities.

Update: this is my 25th published paper! That’s silver, right?

Davide Gerosa, Emanuele Berti, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Krzysztof Belczynski, Michael Kesden, Daniel Wysocki, Wojciech Gladysz.
Physical Review D 98 (2018) 084036.
arXiv:1808.02491 [astro-ph.HE].
Supporting material available here.

Optimizing LIGO with LISA forewarnings to improve black-hole spectroscopy

LISA is going to be amazing: supermassive black-holes, galactic white dwarfs, EMRIs… Besides all of that, LISA can help us doing LIGO’s science better. Some LIGO sources (notably, things like GW150914) will show up in LISA years in advance. LISA is going to tell us when (in time) and where (in frequency) LIGO will see these sources. In this paper, we explore the idea of adapting the LIGO noise curve if one knows that a source is coming in (because LISA told us). We apply this idea to ringdown tests of GR, and show how powerful they become.

Rhondale Tso, Davide Gerosa, Yanbei Chen.
Physical Review D 99 (2019) 124043.
arXiv:1807.00075 [gr-qc].
Other press coverage: astrobites.

Mining gravitational-wave catalogs to understand binary stellar evolution: a new hierarchical bayesian framework.

Gravitational-wave astronomy is moving. Quickly. In a few years we are going to have large catalogs of many detections, and a whole lot of information to extract from them. Instead of focussing on parameters (masses, spins, redshifts) of single sources, we will want to extract hyperparameters describing physical features of the population (metallicity, natal kicks, common envelope, stellar winds, etc). Here we show how to do this in practice: read our new paper for an amazing journey through hyperlateral cubes, Gaussian process emulators, selection biases, hierarchical modeling and more.

Our tools are publicly available! Here is Steve’s Webpage and our public code.

Stephen R. Taylor, Davide Gerosa.
Physical Review D 98 (2018) 083017.
arXiv:1806.08365 [astro-ph.HE].
Editor’s coverage in APS’s Kaleidoscope.

Black holes, gravitational waves and fundamental physics: a roadmap

This is a massive review born out of the European COST Action CA16104 Gravitational waves, black holes and fundamental physics (GWverse). We summarize the status of the field of gravitational-wave astronomy and lie down a roadmap for the immediate future.

Leor Barack, et al. (199 authors incl. Davide Gerosa).
Classical and Quantum Gravity 36 (2019) 14, 143001.
arXiv:1806.05195 [gr-qc].
Editor’s coverage in physicsworld.com.

Gravitational-wave astrophysics with effective-spin measurements: asymmetries and selection biases

LIGO can measure spins. Well, effective spins actually. These are special combinations of the two spins (magnitude and direction) and the binary mass ratio. There’s a ton of astrophysics that can be done just with this quantity, but one should always be careful. Today’s paper points out a few important shortcomings when dealing with effective spin measurements. Want to know more about asymmetries and selection biases?

ps. You can hardly find a better day to post a paper on the arxiv than May 4th

Ken K. Y. Ng, Salvatore Vitale, Aaron Zimmerman, Katerina Chatziioannou, Davide Gerosa, Carl-Johan Haster.
Physical Review D 98 (2018) 083007.
arXiv:1805.03046 [gr-qc].

Black-hole kicks from numerical-relativity surrogate models

Surrogate models are fancy interpolation schemes developed to provide accurate (well, really accurate) waveforms directly from numerical relativity simulations. The first surrogate able to model fully precessing systems came up recently (and it’s really an amazing work!). Here we exploit these advances to explore how linear momentum is emitted in generic black-hole mergers, and well as its back-reaction. Black holes get kicked!

Davide Gerosa, François Hébert, Leo C. Stein.
Physical Review D 97 (2018) 104049.
arXiv:1802.04276 [gr-qc].
Open-source code: homepagerepository.

Explaining LIGO’s observations via isolated binary evolution with natal kicks

Natal kicks imparted to neutron stars and black holes at birth can be constrained using LIGO data. Kicks cause misalignments between the spins and the orbital angular momentum. Here we compare large banks of population synthesis simulations to LIGO data using hierarchical Bayesian statistics and show that (already with 4 events!) natal kicks are constrained from both above and below. Simulated binaries are produced merging Startrack evolutions to my precession code. More on this very soon…

Update: here it is!

Daniel Wysocki, Davide Gerosa, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Krzysztof Belczynski, Wojciech Gladysz, Emanuele Berti, Michael Kesden, Daniel Holz.
Physical Review D 97 (2018) 043014.
arXiv:1709.01943 [astro-ph.HE].

Long-lived inverse chirp signals from core collapse in massive scalar-tensor gravity

Supernova can be used to test gravity! …and if there’s a massive scalar field around, things get terribly interesting. Here we generalize arXiv:1602.06952 to study stellar collapse in massive scalar-tensor theories of gravity (that is, the graviton is coupled to a massive scalar field) with numerical simulations. The scalar-field mass introduces a dispersion relation, and different GW frequencies travel at different speeds. It might even make sense to target historic supernovae: maybe the tail of the signal is still coming to us!

Ulrich Sperhake, Christopher J. Moore, Roxana Rosca, Michalis Agathos, Davide Gerosa, Christian D. Ott.
Physical Review Letters 119 (2017) 201103.
arXiv:1708.03651 [gr-qc].

Impact of Bayesian priors on the characterization of binary black hole coalescences

Bayesian statistics is really cool. It lets you specify clearly and openly all the assumptions that enter an analysis. What’s the effect of these prior assumptions on current inference with gravitational-wave data from black-hole binaries? Here we tackle this question head-on, and perform parameter estimation runs on LIGO data with many (astrophysically motivated!) prior assumptions. Some parameters (like chirp mass) do not suffer from prior choices but others (like the effective spin) do! Specifying the astrophysics as priors is a powerful tool to extract more science from GW data

Update: at the time of publication, this was the first independent reanalysis of any GW data! (There are many more now…). Also, use our data for your research!

Salvatore Vitale, Davide Gerosa, Carl-Johan Haster, Katerina Chatziioannou, Aaron Zimmerman.
Physical Review Letters 119 (2017) 251103.
arXiv:1707.04637 [gr-qc].
Posterior sample data release.

The evolutionary roads leading to low effective spins, high black hole masses, and O1/O2 rates of LIGO/Virgo binary black holes.

Looks like some of the LIGO black holes have low spins (better, low effective spins). In this paper we show these values can be accommodated with standard “field binaries”, i.e. formation channels where binary black holes form from binary stars.

Krzysztof Belczynski, Jakub Klencki, Carl E. Fields, Aleksandra Olejak, Emanuele Berti, Georges Meynet, Christopher L. Fryer, Daniel E. Holz, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Duncan A. Brown, Tomasz Bulik, Sching C. Leung, Ken’ichi Nomoto, Piero Madau, Raphael Hirschi, Samuel Jones, Samaresh Mondal, Martyna Chruslinska, Paweł Drozda, Davide Gerosa, Zoheyr Doctor, Mirek Giersz, Sylvia Ekström, Cyril Georgy, Abbas Askar, Daniel Wysocki, T. Natan, Will M. Farr, Grzegorz Wiktorowicz, M. Coleman Miller, Ben Farr, Jean-Pierre Lasota.
arXiv:1706.07053 [astro-ph.HE].

Nutational resonances, transitional precession, and precession-averaged evolution in binary black-hole systems

Part of our series of spin precession papers, here we study nutational resonances. Those are configurations where the precession of L about J, and that of the two spins are in resonance with each other. These configurations are very generic (virtually every binary will go through resonances), but their effect on the dynamics seems to be small, unless… unless you end up in transitional precession! Transitional precession (great paper!) turns out to be a very special nutational resonance.

Xinyu Zhao, Michael Kesden, Davide Gerosa.
Physical Review D 96 (2017) 024007.
arXiv:1705.02369 [gr-qc].

Inferences about supernova physics from gravitational-wave measurements: GW151226 spin misalignment as an indicator of strong black-hole natal kicks

Black-hole data can be used to probe the lives of stars. That’s the promise of gravitational-wave astronomy, right? Here we give it a go. We present a (admittedly) very simple model showing that the misalignment of GW151226 can be easily explained with large natal kicks. I like simple things…

Richard O’Shaughnessy, Davide Gerosa, Daniel Wysocki.
Physical Review Letters 119 (2017) 011101.
arXiv:1704.03879 [astro-ph.HE].
Press release: Rochester Institute of Technology, Caltech’s tweet.
Editor’s coverage in physics.aps.org.
Other press coverage: IOP’s physicsworld.com, Science Daily, Phys.org, astronomy.com, sciencenews, iflscience.

Are merging black holes born from stellar collapse or previous mergers?

What if the black holes LIGO sees are the results of a merger? I mean, we see mergers, but maybe those are second-generation ones, and the two merging black holes come from first-generation mergers. Or (more likely…) stellar mass black holes form from stars and only merge once…

Davide Gerosa, Emanuele Berti.
Physical Review D 95 (2017) 124046.
arXiv:1703.06223 [gr-qc].
Selected as PRD Editors’ Suggestion.
Other press coverage: Ars Technica.

On the equal-mass limit of precessing black-hole binaries

Equal-mass binaries correspond to a discontinuous limit in the spin precession equations. A new constant of motion pops up, which can be exploited to study the dynamics. This is a really neat calculation done with Jakub, a Cambridge undergraduate student. Also, my first paper at Caltech!

Davide Gerosa, Ulrich Sperhake, Jakub Vošmera.
Classical and Quantum Gravity 34 (2017) 6 ,064004.
arXiv:1612.05263 [gr-qc].

Black-hole kicks as new gravitational-wave observables

Black hole kicks are cool: powerful (up to thousands of km/s!) recoils that black holes receive following a merger. Here we show these events might leave an imprint on the emitted gravitational waves, which is potentially detectable by future interferometers.

Davide Gerosa, Christopher J. Moore.
Physical Review Letters 117 (2016) 011101.
arXiv:1606.04226 [gr-qc].
Selected as PRL Editors’ Suggestion.
Press releases: Cambridge UniversityCambridge Center for Theoretical Cosmology
Other press coverage: Daily Mailphys.org, Particle Bitesegno.gr (Greek), Daily Galaxy, RegisterMedia INAF (Italian), IneffableIsland, AstronomyNow, Accademia delle Stelle (Italian), noticiasdelaciencia (Portuguese). Blog posts on astrobites and particlebites. TV interview, aired on Cambridge TV.

PRECESSION: Dynamics of spinning black-hole binaries with python

Here we present my numerical code precession, which implements our multi-timescale way to look at spinning black-hole binaries. The paper has a detailed description of the various functions as well as lots of examples.

Update: typos in Eq. (36-37) have been fixed in v3 on the arXiv.

Davide Gerosa, Michael Kesden.
Physical Review D 93 (2016) 124066.
arXiv:1605.01067 [astro-ph.HE].
Open-source code: homepage, repository, documentation.

Numerical simulations of stellar collapse in scalar-tensor theories of gravity

Here we present 1+1 numerical-relativity simulation of stellar collapse in scalar-tensor theories, where gravity is mediated by the usual metric coupled to an additional scalar field. Bottom line: you can test General Relativity with supernovae explosions!

Davide Gerosa, Ulrich Sperhake, Christian D. Ott.
Classical and Quantum Gravity 33 (2016) 13 , 135002.
arXiv:1602.06952 [gr-qc].
Supporting material available here.

Distinguishing black-hole spin-orbit resonances by their gravitational wave signatures. II: Full parameter estimation

This is a follow up of arXiv:1403.7147, just done better. Instead of overlaps, we do real injections in LIGO parameter-estimation codes to show that spin-orbit resonances are indeed detectable.

Daniele Trifirò, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Davide Gerosa, Emanuele Berti, Michael Kesden, Tyson Littenberg, Ulrich Sperhake.
Physical Review D 93 (2016) 044071.
arXiv:1507.05587 [gr-qc].

Precessional instability in binary black holes with aligned spins

Here we study the stability of black-hole binaries with spins (anti)aligned with the orbital angular momentum. Aligned configurations are points of equilibrium, but are they stable? If the heavier black-hole is aligned and the lighter one is anti-aligned, this turns out to be unstable! And the onset of this instability can be in the LIGO or LISA band!

Davide Gerosa, Michael Kesden, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Antoine Klein, Emanuele Berti, Ulrich Sperhake, Daniele Trifirò.
Physical Review Letters 115 (2015) 141102.
arXiv:1506.09116 [gr-qc].
Selected as PRL Editors’ Suggestion.
Supporting material available here.

Multi-timescale analysis of phase transitions in precessing black-hole binaries

Detailed analysis of 2PN black-hole binary spin precession using multi-timescale methods. Follow-up of the Letter arXiv:1411.0674, this paper contains the full calculation and the description of the underlying phenomenology.

Davide Gerosa, Michael Kesden, Ulrich Sperhake, Emanuele Berti, Richard O’Shaughnessy.
Physical Review D 92 (2015) 064016.
arXiv:1506.03492 [gr-qc].
Supporting material available here.

Tensor-multi-scalar theories: relativistic stars and 3+1 decomposition

What happens if you throw a scalar field into General Relativity? And if you throw more than one? Here is a paper on the phenomenology of neutron stars in theories with more than one scalar field coupled to gravity.

Michael Horbatsch, Hector O. Silva, Davide Gerosa, Paolo Pani, Emanuele Berti, Leonardo Gualtieri, Ulrich Sperhake.
Classical and Quantum Gravity 32 (2015) 20, 204001.
arXiv:1505.07462 [gr-qc].
Featured in CQG+. Selected as IOPselect.

Spin alignment and differential accretion in merging black hole binaries

Supermassive black holes in binaries and their accretion discs… Spins align on some timescale, but migration also takes place. Do gas discs have enough time to align the spins? Well, the secret is the mass ratio: light secondaries might prevent primaries from aligning. A great collaboration between gravitational-wave and planet researchers!

Davide Gerosa, Benedetta Veronesi, Giuseppe Lodato, Giovanni Rosotti.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 451 (2015) 3941-3954.
arXiv:1503.06807 [astro-ph.GA].

Effective potentials and morphological transitions for binary black-hole spin precession

2PN black-hole binary spin precession works exactly like Kepler’s two-body problem. Not kidding: just define effective potentials and divide the phase space into morphologies. The only things you need are a few timescales to play with.

Michael Kesden, Davide Gerosa, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Emanuele Berti, Ulrich Sperhake.
Physical Review Letters 114 (2015) 081103.
arXiv:1411.0674 [gr-qc].
Press releases: Cambridge University, Cambridge Center for Theoretical Cosmology, Ole Miss, UT Dallas.
Other press coverage: Science Daily, phys.org, phys.org (2), Media INAF (Italian), Astroblogs (Dutch), RIA (Russian), Daily News, Science World Report, Tech Times, Tech Times (2)SpaceRef, Space Daily, ECN, R&D, Daily Galaxy, scitechdaily, nanowerk
Supporting material available here.

Missing black holes in brightest cluster galaxies as evidence for the occurrence of superkicks in nature

Black-hole kicks are powerful. I mean, really powerful. They can even eject supermassive black holes from the heavier galaxies in our Universe. And then these galaxies are left “empty”…

Davide Gerosa, Alberto Sesana.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 446 (2015) 38-55.
arXiv:1405.2072 [astro-ph.GA].

Distinguishing black-hole spin-orbit resonances by their gravitational-wave signatures

Spinning black-hole binaries might belong to two spin-orbit resonances, or families. Can you tell them apart using gravitational-wave observations? Spoiler: yes!

Bonus note: check out the title in v1 on the arxiv…

Davide Gerosa, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Michael Kesden, Emanuele Berti, Ulrich Sperhake.
Physical Review D 89 (2014) 124025.
arXiv:1403.7147 [gr-qc].

Resonant-plane locking and spin alignment in stellar-mass black-hole binaries: a diagnostic of compact-binary formation

Spin precession in stellar-mass black hole binaries encodes information on specific formation mechanisms like tides and mass transfers. My first paper on spin precession…

Davide Gerosa, Michael Kesden, Emanuele Berti, Richard O’Shaughnessy, Ulrich Sperhake.
Physical Review D 87 (2013) 10, 104028.
arXiv:1302.4442 [gr-qc].