Jérôme Guilet receives ERC starting grant

December 16, 2016
This week, the European Research Council and MPA-postdoc Jérôme Guilet signed the agreement for an ERC Starting Grant. The project funded will research exploding stars from first principles, in particular magnetars as engines of hypernovae and gamma-ray bursts.

The birth of a neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field, called a magnetar, has emerged as a promising scenario to power a variety of outstanding explosive events. This includes gamma-ray bursts, which are among the most luminous events observed up to high redshift (i.e. large distances) – therefore gamma-ray bursts are useful as cosmological probes. But also supernovae which release extreme kinetic energies (called hypernovae) or other classes of super-luminous supernovae could be powered by emerging magnetars.

Simple phenomenological models, where certain properties of the magnetar are adjusted, such as its rotation period and magnetic field, can explain many of the observations of stellar explosions to date. These models, however, lack a sound theoretical basis. Jérôme Guilet will use the ERC funding to develop an ab initio description of explosions powered by a magnetar in order to delineate the role they play for the production of gamma-ray bursts and super-luminous supernovae. By using state-of-the-art numerical simulations, the project will investigate the origin of the gigantic magnetic field observed in magnetars as well as the various explosion paths that can be explained by the birth of fast-rotating magnetars.

ERC Starting Grants are designed to encourage young talented research leaders to gain independence in Europe and to build their own careers. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. Some 3000 applicants submitted proposals for the current call and the ERC remarked on the generally high quality of the proposals received. Starting Grants are funded with up to a 1.5 million Euros for a period of five years. Currently based at MPA, Jérôme Guilet will move to CEA-Saclay for this project.

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