Dr. Will Newton (Texas A&M Commerce)
Neutron stars, born in the collapse of massive stellar cores, offer a fascinating glimpse into physics under the most extreme conditions. All four fundamental forces play an important role in determining the structure and dynamics of neutron stars, giving rise to a rich phenomenology manifest in observations over the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Understanding observed behaviors of neutron stars requires a close interplay of astrophysical observation and modeling, and nuclear physics experiment and theory.
I will present how our current understanding of neutron star structure has arisen from this interplay. Neutron stars have a thin (approx. 1km) solid crust surrounding a core (approx 10km in radius) of fluid nucleons. I will focus on the region where the crust transitions to the core, sometimes referred to as its mantle. This layer is expected to exhibit a number of fascinating material properties with strong analogies in soft condensed matter physics. I will detail the physics of the mantle, how we can go about testing our physical models observationally, and the fundamental nuclear physics questions that helps us answer.