Vicky Kalogera Erastus O. Haven Professor

Vicky Kalogera is interested in the physics of compact astrophysical objects: white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. In binary systems, where two stars orbit each other, the interactions of compact objects are especially interesting. They can include a wide variety of violent phenomena such as powerful X-ray emission, supernova explosions, black hole formation, and mergers. Kalogera's research is focused mainly on how such systems are born, how they evolve, and how they end their lives. She is also interested in how the properties of such systems are affected by their galactic environments.

Kalogera studies compact objects in three main contexts: as sources of X-ray emission, radio pulses, and gravitational waves. Her research goals include the understanding of X-ray binary observations with NASA's Chandra Observatory in the Milky Way and other galaxies, of current discoveries of binary pulsar systems, and the prediction of anticipated event rates for current and future gravitational wave detectors.

The direct detection of gravitational waves is a unique development in physics anticipated in the coming decade. Binaries with two neutron stars or black holes are primary sources for such detection. Over hundreds of millions of years, such binaries slowly spiral inward towards each other, eventually colliding and producing some of the most violent events in the Universe. General relativity predicts that this happens because massive objects moving at high velocities should emit gravity waves, thus slowly sapping the system of energy and forcing an inward spiral. There is considerable indirect evidence to support the relativistic theory, the most important derived from observations of relativistic binary pulsars. Ambitious efforts are currently under way with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and with the planned Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) to make the first direct detections of gravitational wave sources and create gravitational wave astronomy. Kalogera is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and works on the theoretical understanding of gravitational wave sources and the development of optimal detection methods.

Honors and Awards

  • Maria Goeppert Mayer Award
  • Cottrell Scholar
  • David and Lucille Packard Fellow
  • Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy
  • NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award

Selected Publications

  • D. W. Kim, G. Fabbiano, V. Kalogera, et al.
    Probing the Low-Luminosity X-Ray Luminosity Function in Normal Elliptical Galaxies
    Astrophysical Journal 652, 1090 (2006)
  • Eccentricities of Double Neutron Star Binaries
    Astrophysical Journal 652, 540 (2006)
  • M. Freitag, P. Amaro-Seoane, and V. Kalogera
    Stellar Remnants in Galactic Nuclei: Mass Segregation
    Astrophysical Journal 649, 91 (2006)
  • J. Sepinsky, V. Kalogera, and K. Belczynski
    Are Supernova Kicks Responsible for X-ray Binary Ejection from Young Clusters?
    Astrophysical Journal 621, L37 (2005)
  • B. Willems, V. Kalogera, and M. Henninger
    Pulsar Kicks and Spin Tilts in the Close Double Neutron Stars PSR J0737-3039, PSR B1534+12, and PSR B1913+16
    Astrophysical Journal 616, 414 (2004)
  • V. Kalogera, et al.
    The Cosmic Coalescence Rate for Double Neutron Star Binaries
    Astrophys. J. Lett. 601, Issue 2, L179 (2004)
  • V. Kalogera, M. Henninger, N. Ivanova, and A. R. King
    An Observational Diagnostic for Ultraluminous X-Ray Sources
    Astrophys. J. Lett. 603, Issue 1, L41 (2004)