Indiana University
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Research Scientist | Jonathan Thornburg

Senior Scientist
Ph.D. Astronomy, University of British Columbia, 1993

Contact Information:

Department of Astronomy
Indiana University
Swain West 408
727 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: (812) 856-5269

Biographical Information:

Dr. Thornburg joined the IU Astronomy faculty in 2008 as a Research Scientist. He received a B.S. in Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science from Simon Fraser University in 1983, and his M.S. and Ph.D in Astronomy from the University of British Columbia in 1985 and 1993 respectively. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Vienna, and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany. Most recently he was a lecturer in the School of Mathematics at the University of Southampton.

Research Interests

Dr. Thornburg's primary research interests span a variety of topics in dynamical and gravitational astrophysics, with a particular focus on the orbital decay and final coalescence of binary black hole systems. He worked for many years on various aspects of simulating comparable-mass binary black hole systems, using full nonlinear numerical solution of the Einstein equations. More recently he has begun simulating binary black hole systems with very large mass ratios (typically 105:1). These "EMRIs" (extreme mass ratio inspirals) model stellar-mass black holes orbiting the galactic-center black hole, and are expected to be strong sources of gravitational radiation for the proposed LISA space gravitational-radiation detector.

Selected Publications