Type Ia Supernovae: Theory Meets Observations

Workshop in the Lorentz Center 15-26 July 2002


Organizers: Norbert Langer, Utrecht; Brian Schmidt, The Australian National University


Scientific Report


The Lorentz Center has provided the Supernovae community with a unique opportunity of exploring one of the most outstanding issues in the field – the nature of the progenitors of these exploding stars. The workshop hosted 40 people from Europe, the USA, Japan, and Australia, including many of the fields’ leading theorists and observers. The workshop served to facilitate a synthesis of state of the art theory and observations, to help define how best to make rapid progress on understanding supernovae – an especially important area of endeavor given the role these objects have played in defining the Cosmological Paradigm – a Universe dominated by a Cosmological Constant. 


The format of the workshop included a series of review lectures given by leaders of the field during the first week, followed by a series of short specific talks by people presenting new (unpublished work). We defined 6 theme leaders (3 theorists, 3 observers) to lead discussions on key areas, and these leaders reported the progress within these area made by the workshop, during presentations at the end of our workshop.  For the rest of the time, participants broke into small work groups investigating individual topics of mutual interest; these formed naturally without much guidance. 


Several groups took advantage of the Lorentz Center to help organize their future. For example, members of the High-Z SN Search worked on finishing their analysis of distant supernovae, and had a team meeting. Members of the European supernova research and training program had a team meeting and planned future observing strategies.


Of particular value was the direct comparison of various theoretical groups’ supernova explosion simulations, radiation transfer computations, and binary synthesis predictions. These comparisons are difficult to make without direct contact and showed that there is now broad agreement on most theoretical issues, but also showed where the discrepancies lie.


The facilities of the Lorentz center were essential to the success of our workshop, and we have received nothing but praise from our participants, with the most common comment – “when are we going to do this again?”.  The computation and network facilities allowed our participants to feel as though the Center was their home away from home, with the Audio Visual equipment exactly appropriate to our needs.


We thank the Lorentz Center and its funding agencies for the support, and believe the workshop was a fantastic success.  The scientific outcomes are already flowing, and should continue for several years to come.


Norbert Langer

Brian Schmidt