A physicist, at present, cannot make an ab initio accurate prediction from the physics of the strong force regarding the systems where this force is important: the properties and behavior of matter at and above nuclear density. This can be done for gravitation, the weak force, and electromagnetic forces. Our inability to be able to do this for the strong force is a major hole in modern physics.
Neutron stars let us study the strong force in a unique regime of high density and low temperature. They bring within reach highly asymmetric (neutron-rich) states of nucleonic matter. In addition the stability provided by gravitational confinement allows slow weak interactions, forming states of matter that could never be made in the lab.
The mass-radius relationship for neutron stars maps directly to the dense matter equation of state, which in turn depends on the unknown physics of the strong force. Whilst precision measurements of masses are already possible, measuring the radius poses a much greater challenge. This meeting will bring together astronomers, astrophysicists and nuclear physicists who are taking on that challenge. The meeting format will encourage participant-driven discussion and breakout sessions, in keeping with the spirit of the Montreal Jazz Festival – to which we hope participants will repair in the evenings for inspiration!
“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there” – Miles Davis. As true for science as it is for jazz.