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Healy, James
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Research Associate


  • Ph.D. Physics
    The Pennsylvania State University


Through numerical relativity, or the solving of Einstein's equations of gravity using numerical techniques, we are able to evolve a binary black hole (BBH) system from initially two separate black holes slowly inspirally, until they eventually coalesce and settle down into a single Kerr black hole. Numerical relativity gives us the opportunity to pose the following question: given two initial black holes with some mass, spin, and momentum, what is the final mass, spin, and momentum of the merged remnant black hole, and what gravitational radiation is generated from this process?  

With this question in mind, I've studied a large collection of initial BBH configurations using numerical relativity ranging from quasicircular orbits to highly eccentric orbits to direct plunges.  By exploring this wide range of BBH parameter space, my collaborators and I have found some interesting and exciting results, including kick velocities as high as 12,000 km/s and final spins close to maximal from direct plunges.  We have also found highly accurate analytic models to determine the final mass and spin from the initial configuration of aligned-spin BBH systems in quasicircular orbits.

Professional Experience

  • 2019 - Present Research Associate, Center For Computational Relativity and Gravitation, RIT
  • 2013 - 2019 Postdoc, Center For Computational Relativity and Gravitation, RIT
  • 2010 - 2013 Postdoc, Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Tech
  • 2006 - 2009 Ph.D., Physics, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2002 - 2006 B.S., Physics, University of Delaware