Andrew Steiner (University of Tennessee)
Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy
College Station, Texas 77843
Neutron stars are unique nuclear physics laboratories. Observations of isolated, accreting, and merging neutron stars can be used to probe matter from the nuclear saturation density to densities described by perturbative QCD and from sub-nuclear temperatures up to 100 MeV. I will show, for example, how neutron star observations connect neutron stars to the equation of state of dense matter. Neutron star mergers, observed by LIGO in 2017, are an entirely new laboratory for nuclear physics. The observation of GW 170817 confirmed our prediction for the tidal deformability of a 1.4 solar mass neutron star. Neutron star mergers probe higher temperatures (~100 MeV) than core-collapse supernovae, and thus may provide an interesting connection between low-energy nuclear physics and quark-gluon descriptions of matter at higher densities and temperatures. I will describe how nuclear theory, astronomical observations, and experiments, like those performed at the TAMU Cyclotron Institute, can be combined to achieve a new understanding of the nature of hot and dense strongly-interacting matter.