Nuclear Physics from Multi-Messenger Mergers (NP3M)

  • Steiner, Andrew (PI)
  • Horowitz, Charles (CoPI)
  • Brown, Duncan (CoPI)
  • Ratti, Claudia (CoPI)
  • Radice, David (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The goal of the Nuclear Physics from Multi-Messenger Mergers (NP3M) Focus Research Hub is to create a national effort in nuclear physics and astrophysical simulations to systematically probe the properties of hot and dense strongly interacting matter with multi-messenger observations of neutron stars. Neutron star mergers probe the nature of matter at densities and temperatures far beyond those present in atomic nuclei. The NP3M Hub will form a new interdisciplinary collaboration across nuclear physics, astrophysics, and gravitational-wave physics to drive the coordinated advances in each of these sub-fields needed to interpret observations. The NP3M Hub will develop theoretical models of dense and hot matter to connect multi-messenger observations of neutron stars to the underlying merger dynamics by means of numerical simulations. Hub members will lead a coordinated effort to study the impact of theoretical uncertainties in the nuclear physics and the numerical modeling on the prediction of multi-messenger signals from merging neutron stars (end-to-end). They will lead a parallel effort to back propagate observational constraints to nuclear physics, connecting astronomical observations with laboratory results.

The Nuclear Physics of Multi-Messenger Mergers (NP3M) collaboration is comprised of researchers across the US and aims to understand how atomic nuclei and the interactions between neutrons and protons impact the merger of two neutron stars. The evolution of neutron stars, the compact stellar objects which are the final stage in the evolution of stars between about 8 and 20 times the mass of the sun, is controlled by nuclear physics. Some neutron stars in our universe are created in pairs, and these pairs of neutron stars eventually merge in a cataclysmic event which emits gravitational waves, neutrinos, and photons, creating either a more massive neutron star or a black hole. These mergers are the likely origin of a significant fraction of the atomic nuclei heavier than iron which are present on earth. This grant supports the training of early-career scientists who will work on different aspects of this problem. The NP3M hub will create pages and videos that discuss how any new discoveries in multi-messenger astronomy impact nuclear astrophysics. The hub will develop a curriculum on nuclear physics and multi-messenger astronomy for K-12 educators, and host two summer schools that will educate students in hub-related science.

This project advances the objectives of 'Windows on the Universe: the Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics', one of the 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date8/1/217/31/26


  • National Science Foundation: $1,250,000.00


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