MIT Kavli Institute Directory

Nevin Weinberg

Assistant Professor of Physics Faculty

Nevin Weinberg joined the MIT Physics Department as an Assistant Professor in September 2011. He grew up in the suburbs of NYC, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 2000 and his Ph.D. from Caltech in 2005. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics from 2005-06 and at the University of California, Berkeley from 2006-11.

Research interests: 

Professor Weinberg is an astrophysics theorist whose research interests include compact objects, binary evolution, stellar oscillations, and explosive thermonuclear burning.  His current research focuses on short period binary systems, including stellar binaries, planetary systems (e.g., hot Jupiters), and compact object binaries. He is particularly interested in understanding how the strong tides in these systems influence their evolution. The next decade promises to be very exciting for the field of binary stellar systems. For the first time, gravitational wave observatories such as LIGO are expected to detect gravitational waves from the mergers of compact objects (neutron stars and black holes). Tides may leave an imprint on the gravitational wave signal that will encode information about the structure of these enigmatic objects. Space missions such as Kepler have also begun to reveal a wealth of information about close stellar and planetary binaries including transiting planets, tidal dynamics, and asteroseismology. Weinberg also studies thermonuclear explosions on the surfaces of accreting neutron stars and white dwarfs. By understanding the nature of these explosions, we can learn about the structure, composition, and evolution of these objects.  Upcoming transient surveys such as LSST will likely discover entirely new classes of explosions from accreting and merging binary systems.

Representative publications: 

"Nonlinear Tides in Close Binary Systems", N. N. Weinberg, P. Arras, E. Quataert, J. Burkart, in prep. (2011) "Evidence of heavy-element ashes in thermonuclear X-ray bursts with photospheric superexpansion", J. J. M. in't Zand, N. N. Weinberg, A&A, 520, 81 (2010) "Thermonuclear .Ia Supernovae from Helium Shell Detonations: Explosion Models and Observables", K. J. Shen, D. Kasen, N. N. Weinberg, L. Bildsten, E. Scannapieco, ApJ, 715, 767 (2010) "Non-linear saturation of g-modes in proto-neutron stars: quieting the acoustic engine", N. N. Weinberg, E. Quataert, MNRAS, 387, L64 (2008) "Measuring Distance and Properties of the Milky Way's Central Supermassive Black Hole with Stellar Orbits", A. M. Ghez, S. Salim, N. Weinberg, J. Lu, et al., ApJ, 689, 1044 (2008) "Carbon Detonation and Shock-Triggered Helium Burning in Neutron Star Superbursts", N. N. Weinberg, L. Bildsten, ApJ, 2007, 670, 1291 (2007) "Exposing the Nuclear Burning Ashes of Radius Expansion Type I X-Ray Bursts", , N. N. Weinberg, L. Bildsten, H. Schatz, ApJ, 639, 1018 (2006) "Stellar Dynamics at the Galactic Center with an Extremely Large Telescope", N. N. Weinberg, M. Milosavljevic, A. M. Ghez, ApJ, 622, 878 (2005)