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Dynamical Instability of Neutron Stars in Scalar-Tensor Theories of Gravity

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Title: Dynamical Instability of Neutron Stars in Scalar-Tensor Theories of Gravity
Author: Podkowka, Dylan
Department: Department of Physics
Program: Physics
Advisor: Poisson, Eric
Abstract: To confirm general relativity (GR) is the correct theory of gravity, even in the strong-field regime, it is necessary to constrain alternative theories using astrophysical observations. A well-studied generalization of GR is scalar-tensor theory (STT), which includes some scalar field nonminimally coupled to the metric. Although STTs have been well-constrained in some cases, using solar system experiments and pulsar timing, other regions of their parameter space remain consistent with these observations, as well as cosmological evolution. I discuss my work to further constrain STT by deducing the macroscopic properties of highly compact neutron stars that correspond with a dynamical instability in the alternative theory, but retain stability in GR. I show the expected compactness for the onset of this instability given a large sample of physically possible equations of state and provide estimates for the mass and radius given current and near-future measurement precision.
Date: 2018-07

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