Davide Gerosa


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

Stephen R. Taylor, Davide Gerosa.
Physical Review D 98 (2018) 083017.
arXiv:1806.08365 [astro-ph.HE].

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.

Numerical Relativity beyond General Relativity

Happy to report about the great success of our workshop ”Numerical Relativity beyond General Relativity”. This was organized by me, Helvi Witek and Leo Stein at the Benasque physics center (Spain), in the beautiful region of the Pyrenees, on June 3-9, 2018. Was great to see world-leading experts from so many different fields (numerical relativity, gravitational-wave data analysis, self-force, theoretical physics, cosmology, etc) interacting and reporting their progress on innovative uses of computational techniques in gravitation. Here are the conference program and (some of) the talk’s slides.

I only wish the rain would have stopped for more than a few hours over the entire week. This is us with Einstein; we’re all beyond!


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

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].

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

34th Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting

The 34th edition of the Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting, sponsored by the APS, was held at Caltech on March 16-17, 2018. This’ year edition was organized by me, Leo Stein and a few others, and was dedicated to Jim Isenberg who first started the Pacific Gravity meetings 34 years ago. We had a beautiful blend of people (including some very talented undergrads!) and topics (from numerical relativity, to quantum gravity, high-energy physics and gravitational-wave astronomy). I hope everybody had fun. I surely did!

Here is the conference program, and this below is the logo that I designed (It’s supposed to be Newton’s apple with some gravitational waves in Caltech’s orange color; I know, I’m a scientist, not an artist…). And congrats to Maria Okounkova who won the best student talk award of the APS.


Black-hole kicks from numerical-relativity surrogate models

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

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!

Open-source code: homepagerepository.

Reanalysis of LIGO black-hole coalescences with alternative prior assumptions

Davide Gerosa, Salvatore Vitale, Carl-Johan Haster, Katerina Chatziioannou, Aaron Zimmerman.
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, IAU Symposium, Volume 338, in press.
arXiv:1712.06635 [astro-ph.HE].

These are proceedings of the IAU Symposium 338 “Gravitational Wave Astrophysics”, held in Baton Rouge LA on October 16-19, 2017. My contribution is based on arXiv:1707.04637, where we look at the first binary black hole data using different Bayesian priors. During that conference, we had the announcement of the first neutron start event, GW170817, and I was presenting black-hole science: so obsolete…