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CSI: Princeton -- A Definitive Investigation of the Core-Collapse Supernova Cassiopeia A
17-19 April 2017

Workshop Organizers: Adam Burrows (Princeton); Dan Milisavljevic (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics);Nathan Smith (University of Arizona); Armin Rest (Space Telescope Science Institute);Daniel Patnaude (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)

Core-collapse supernovae are among the most powerful and consequential explosions in the universe. They influence the energy balance and structure of galaxies, produce exotic objects such as neutron stars, black holes, and some gamma-ray bursts, are a major site for nucleosynthesis, and are prodigious emitters of neutrinos and gravitational waves. It is increasingly clear, however, that our understanding of core-collapse supernovae is incomplete. Expanding all-sky surveys are uncovering an enormous zoo of cosmic explosions with unexpected properties that are forcing radical revisions to long-accepted evolutionary models of their massive progenitor stars, and exposing large gaps in our understanding of how they explode in, interact with, and enrich interstellar space.

Developing a coherent understanding of the complex dynamical processes associated with the deaths of massive stars requires the cooperative expertise of a wide variety of scientists. To this end, we are organizing a workshop to be hosted at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science that seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists to perform an holistic case study (i.e., ``Crime Scene Investigation" or CSI) of a prototypical example: the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). Remarkably, despite Cas A having direct connections to extragalactic supernovae and providing one of the best test cases of core-collapse explosion dynamics, in many ways it remains embarrassingly misunderstood.

Our workshop seeks to confront this misunderstanding head-on. Topics to be covered include pre-supernova evolution and mass loss, explosion mechanisms, progenitor systems, explosive nucleosynthesis, dust, morphology, and mixing. The definitive understanding we wish to achieve at ``CSI: Princeton " by examining Cas A in fine detail will be extended to a larger family of core-collapse supernovae and closely related analog objects. Our results will be critically relevant for new and exciting facilities and research that will soon map uncharted frontiers of astrophysical transients, including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope that may find upwards of 100,000 objects per year, and the next generation of three-dimensional core collapse simulations striving to model and interpret the gravitational wave, neutrino, and EM signatures of supernovae.

PARTICIPATION IS BY INVITATION ONLY

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