Anthony Mezzacappa, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee Knoxville

CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS. WE HOPE TO RESCHEDULE.  The lecture will be held at the UT Resource Center located at 1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike between Dairy Queen and Applebee's Grill. Use the entrance at the southwest (back) corner of the building. Attendees may bring and eat food during the meeting. 

This hybrid meeting can be attended using the Zoom link:



Einstein’s theory of gravity is among the greatest products of the human mind that has emerged over the course of our history. According to Einstein, gravity is a geometric phenomenon, a manifestation of the curvature of the fabric we call spacetime. And this fabric can support, like the surface of a pond, waves that are generated by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes, colliding neutron stars, and the explosive deaths of massive stars known as core collapse supernovae. A new window on the Universe was opened when in 2015 gravitational waves were detected for the very first time, from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away. This was made possible by more than fifty years of development on the part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration. As we will discuss, the detection itself is nothing short of miraculous. Since then, LIGO has detected many two-black-hole collisions and several two-neutron-star collisions. The gravitational waves from a core collapse supernova have yet to be detected, and we are preparing fervently for this eventuality. Core collapse supernovae are directly or indirectly responsible for the lion’s share of the elements in the periodic table, the building blocks of life as we know it. We are here because of a circle of life that has occurred on a cosmic scale. Needless to say, the detection of gravitational waves from a core collapse supernova will in and of itself be important. Moreover, gravitational waves from such a supernova will bring volumes of information about the dynamics of the central engine powering these explosions, something the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee supernova group has studied for many years. I look forward to discussing all of the above with you.

Tony Mezzacappa


Biographical Sketch:

Anthony Mezzacappa, Ph.D. 


Anthony Mezzacappa is the Newton W. and Wilma C. Thomas Chair of Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and Corporate Fellow (Emeritus) at ORNL. Before this, he was a group leader for Theoretical Physics in its Physics division, group leader for Computational Astrophysics in ORNL’s CSMD, and had been on staff at ORNL since 1996, where he created a new research program in theoretical and computational astrophysics. Before joining ORNL, Mezzacappa held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his B.S. degree in physics at M.I.T. in 1980, an M.A. degree in physics from Columbia University in 1982, and his Ph.D. in physics at the Center for Relativity at the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. He has worked in the areas of astrophysics and cosmology and specializes in the theory of core collapse supernovae.

Mezzacappa has authored or coauthored more than 200 scientific publications (journal articles, conference proceedings, abstracts), has coedited 8 volumes in his field or in the broader field of computational science, and has given numerous invited talks internationally. He and his work have been featured on the National Geographic Channel and in Scientific American, to name a few venues.


Meeting Agenda:

11:30 a.m.  - You may arrive at the UT Resource Center or sign into Zoom and talk to

colleagues before the lecture.


12:00 p.m. – Talk begins following a few announcements and introduction of the speaker.

                        All attendees must mute.


1:15 p.m.  - End of talk and questions