Speaker: Thomas Baumgarte (Bowdoin)
Title: Critical Phenomena in Gravitational Collapse
Abstract: Critical Phenomena, including the appearance of universal scaling laws and critical exponents in the vicinity of phase transitions, appear in different fields of physics and beyond. Critical phenomena in gravitational collapse to black holes were first observed by Matt Choptuik about 25 years ago - a seminal discovery that launched an entire new field of research. Until recently, however, most numerical work in this field was restricted to spherical symmetry and - with some notable exceptions - could not account for effects that break this symmetry. In this talk I will review the appearance of scaling laws and self-similarity close to the onset of black hole formation. I will then present new numerical relativity simulations of gravitational collapse to black holes in the absence of spherical symmetry, and will discuss the effects of rotation and aspherical deformations.