Citation
Okounkova, Maria (2019) Numerical Relativity beyond General Relativity. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/WPATPS25. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:05102019160621419
Abstract
Einstein’s theory of general relativity has passed all precision tests to date. At some length scale, however, general relativity (GR) must break down and be reconciled with quantum mechanics in a quantum theory of gravity (a beyondGR theory). Binary black hole mergers probe the nonlinear, highly dynamical regime of gravity, and gravitational waves from these systems may contain signatures of such a theory. In this thesis, we seek to make gravitational wave predictions for binary black hole mergers in a beyondGR theory. These predictions can then be used to perform modeldependent tests of GR with gravitational wave detections.
We make predictions using numerical relativity, the practice of precisely numerically solving the equations governing spacetime. This allows us to probe the behavior of a binary black hole system through full inspiral, merger, and ringdown. We choose to work in dynamical ChernSimons gravity (dCS), a highercurvature beyondGR effective field theory that couples spacetime curvature to a scalar field, and has motivations in string theory and loop quantum gravity. In order to obtain a wellposed initial value formalism, we perturb this theory around GR. We compute the leadingorder behavior of the dCS scalar field in a binary black hole merger, as well as the leadingorder dCS correction to the spacetime metric and hence gravitational radiation. We produce the first numerical relativity beyondGR waveforms in a highercurvature theory of gravity.
This thesis contains additional results, all of which harness the power of numerical relativity to test GR. We compute black hole shadows in dCS gravity, numerically prove the leadingorder stability of rotating black holes in dCS gravity, and lay out a formalism for determining the start time of binary black hole ringdown using information from the strongfield region of a binary black hole simulation.
Item Type:  Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))  

Subject Keywords:  General relativity, numerical relativity, gravitational waves  
Degree Grantor:  California Institute of Technology  
Division:  Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy  
Major Option:  Physics  
Awards:  John Stager Stemple Memorial Prize in Physics, 2018.  
Thesis Availability:  Public (worldwide access)  
Research Advisor(s): 
 
Group:  TAPIR, Astronomy Department  
Thesis Committee: 
 
Defense Date:  1 May 2019  
NonCaltech Author Email:  m.okounkova (AT) gmail.com  
Record Number:  CaltechTHESIS:05102019160621419  
Persistent URL:  https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:05102019160621419  
DOI:  10.7907/WPATPS25  
Related URLs: 
 
ORCID: 
 
Default Usage Policy:  No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.  
ID Code:  11507  
Collection:  CaltechTHESIS  
Deposited By:  Maria Okounkova  
Deposited On:  14 May 2019 21:54  
Last Modified:  10 Mar 2020 23:24 
Thesis Files

PDF
 Final Version
See Usage Policy. 6MB 
Repository Staff Only: item control page