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Pappalardo Fellow in Physics: 2007-10
Name: Paola Rebusco
Title(s): Pappalardo Fellow in Physics: 2007-10
Phone: (617) 253-7611
MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
Area of Physics:
Paola Rebusco is a theoretical astrophysicist investigating gas flows around black holes and neutron stars in our galaxy as well as in enormous clusters containing thousands of galaxies. In both settings the gas is heated to millions of degrees and emits most strongly in the X-ray part of the spectrum.
When a companion star orbits too close to a black hole or neutron star it loses gas to an accretion disk swirling around the dense compact star. Time variability of the X-ray emission reveals turbulence and stochastic resonance in the accretion disk. Rebusco investigates how to infer the mass and spin of the central object as well as the dynamics of turbulent disks from measurements of the X-ray variability.
Much larger black holes reside in the centers of giant galaxies which themselves occupy the centers of huge clusters of galaxies. Turbulent gas motions in such clusters regulate the feeding of supermassive black holes. Rebusco aims to understand the interactions between galaxies, gas, and black holes in these environments.
Paola received her Ph.D. in the spring of 2007, advised by Rashid Sunyaev and Eugene Churazov. During her Ph.D. studies at the Ludwig Maximillian University (Munich) she attended the International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics. Her thesis was about turbulent gas motions in the core of galaxy clusters.
Paola earned her master's in theoretical physics at the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2003. Her work focused on the mathematical foundations of the Kluzniak and Abramowicz model for high frequency QPOs. QPOs are observed in the X-ray spectra from black hole and neutron star systems.
Paola is also interested in how specialized knowledge is made publicly accessible. She is member of the ESO (European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere) Science Outreach Network and is a commentator upon scientific news for the Italian radio program Moebius.
- Non-Linear Resonance in Nearly Geodesic Motion in Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries by M.A. Abramowicz, V. Karas, W. Kluzniak, W.H. Lee, P. Rebusco: in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 2003, vol.55, pp. 467-466 (astro-ph/0302183).
- Twin Peaks kHz QPOs: Mathematics of the 3:2 Orbital Resonance by P. Rebusco: in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 2004, vol. 56, pp. 553-557 (astro-ph/0403341).
- Epicyclic oscillations of fluid bodies Paper II. Strong gravity by M.A. Abramowicz, O. Blaes, J. Horak, W. Kluzniak, P. Rebusco: in Classical and Quantum Gravity, 2006, vol. 23, pp. 1689-1696 (astro-ph/0511375).
- Stochastic modelling of kHz QPOs light curves by R. Vio, P. Rebusco, P. Andreani, Madsen H., R.V. Overgaard: Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2006, vol. 452, pp. 383-386 (astro-ph/0602200).
- Effect of turbulent diffusion on iron abundance profiles by P. Rebusco, E. Churazov, H. Böhringer, W. Forman: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 372, pp. 1840-1850(astro-ph/0608491).