You’ve all had to listen to me go on and on about my thesis, QUARK-HADRON COMPOSITION OF ROTATING NEUTRON STARS. Now, at long last, it has been posted to the San Diego State University library page.
You can find the thesis here: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/165075
If you just wanted to see the pretty plots and GIFs, you can find them here: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~fweber/Mellinger/Compositions.html
So, what does this mean?
A neutron star is the corpse of a star that had an original mass of about 8 to 25 times the mass of our sun. They are incredibly dense (about 10^14 grams per cubic cm), having a mass of about 1 to 2 times the mass of the sun (they lost a bunch during their supernova) and a diameter of only about 10 km.
The behavior of matter at high density is poorly understood. Many models exist for exploring this (called nuclear equations of state) but matter of such high densities isn’t readily available for direct comparison. One place that it’s expected to exist, as previously mentioned, is inside neutron stars. The basic idea here is to take different models for the nuclear equation of state and use them to determine what each model predicts the particle composition (what particles it’s made of) of neutron stars to be, in hopes that this will lead to some sort of observable quantity for neutron stars that is dependent on which model was used, thus allowing us to narrow down which models are more likely to be correct.
In this thesis we determined the compositions of neutron stars for each of several nuclear equations of state, and looked at how that composition is expected to change as the neutron star’s rotation slows over time (as it begins to spin less quickly, the shape will change, and so will the density, thus leading to changes in the composition).