Dr. Joan M Centrella

Dr. Joan M Centrella

  • Deputy Director , Astrophysics Science Division
  • 301.286.3966 | 301.286.0250
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 660
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    Joan Centrella received her PhD from Cambridge University, where she was a student at the Institute of Astronomy. Following postdoctoral appointments at the University of Texas and the University of Illinois, she joined the faculty of Drexel University in the Physics Department.  At Drexel, she developed a research group focused on studying astrophysical sources of gravitational waves.  She also taught physics and astronomy at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervised both graduate students and postdocs, and served as the advisor for all incoming graduate students in the department. 

    In 2001, she moved to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to join their newly-formed gravitational wave astrophysics group.  She initiated and led their source modeling and numerical relativity effort in support of LISA.  The primary focus of her research group was simulating the final merger of two black holes, considered to be the strongest and most important sources of gravitational radiation for both space-based and terrestrial detectors.  In 2005, the Goddard team was one of three groups to achieve dramatic research breakthroughs and solve this long-standing problem. In May 2007, she was awarded the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for ground-breaking work in the simulation of gravitational wave signals from merging black holes. In May 2008, she and John Baker were awarded the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; this is the center's highest honor for outstanding contributions in space science.

    In 2004 she became head of the Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, which encompasses the gravitational wave and theoretical astrophysics groups at Goddard.

    In May 2010, she took her current position as  Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Science Division.

    Research Interests: Astrophysical Sources of Gravitational Waves; Black Hole Mergers; Numerical Relativity; Structure Formation; Cosmology
     
    Interviews and Popular Articles
     

    • “Experimenting with Black Holes,” 2009, interviewed by ScienceFace.org, available online at: http://www.scienceface.org/, on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWILv7fNTqQ, and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/sciencefaceorg/87094134515

    • Interviewed by Sky and Telescope for podcast, 2009, available online at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/skytel/beyondthepage/39792292.html

    • “Solving the Mysteries of the Universe,” Interviewed by Scientific Computing World, October/November 2008 issue, online at: http://www.scientific-computing.com/features/feature.php?feature_id=209

    • “Computing Cosmic Cataclysms,” J. Centrella, B. Kelly, J. van Meter, J. Baker, R. Stebbins, and R. Naeye, 2008, popular article for the Department of Energy’s SciDAC Review, available online at: http://www.scidacreview.org/0802/html/astro.html

    Education

    B.S. University of Massachusetts
    Ph.D. Cambridge University

    Publications

    Refereed

    van Meter, J. R., J. H. Wise, M. C. Miller, et al. C. S. Reynolds, J. Centrella, J. G. Baker, W. D. Boggs, B. J. Kelly, and S. T. McWilliams. 2010. "Modeling Flows around Merging Black Hole Binaries." The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 711: L89 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/2041-8205/711/2/L89]

    Cadonati, L., B. Aylott, J. G. Baker, et al. W. D. Boggs, M. Boyle, P. R. Brady, D. A. Brown, B. Brügmann, L. T. Buchman, A. Buonanno, J. Camp, M. Campanelli, J. Centrella, S. Chatterji, N. Christensen, T. Chu, P. Diener, N. Dorband, Z. B. Etienne, J. Faber, S. Fairhurst, B. Farr, S. Fischetti, G. Guidi, L. M. Goggin, M. Hannam, F. Herrmann, I. Hinder, S. Husa, V. Kalogera, D. Keppel, L. E. Kidder, B. J. Kelly, B. Krishnan, P. Laguna, C. O. Lousto, I. Mandel, P. Marronetti, R. Matzner, S. T. McWilliams, K. D. Matthews, R. A. Mercer, S. R. Mohapatra, A. H. Mroué, H. Nakano, E. Ochsner, Y. Pan, L. Pekowsky, H. P. Pfeiffer, D. Pollney, F. Pretorius, V. Raymond, C. Reisswig, L. Rezzolla, O. Rinne, C. Robinson, C. Röver, L. Santamaría, B. Sathyaprakash, M. A. Scheel, E. Schnetter, J. Seiler, S. L. Shapiro, D. Shoemaker, U. Sperhake, A. Stroeer, R. Sturani, W. Tichy, Y. T. Liu, M. van der Sluys, J. R. van Meter, R. Vaulin, A. Vecchio, J. Veitch, A. Viceré, J. T. Whelan, and Y. Zlochower. 2009. "Status of NINJA: the Numerical INJection Analysis project." Classical and Quantum Gravity, 26: 4008 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0264-9381/26/11/114008]

    Aylott, B., J. G. Baker, W. D. Boggs, et al. M. Boyle, P. R. Brady, D. A. Brown, B. Brügmann, L. T. Buchman, A. Buonanno, L. Cadonati, J. Camp, M. Campanelli, J. Centrella, S. Chatterji, N. Christensen, T. Chu, P. Diener, N. Dorband, Z. B. Etienne, J. Faber, S. Fairhurst, B. Farr, S. Fischetti, G. Guidi, L. M. Goggin, M. Hannam, F. Herrmann, I. Hinder, S. Husa, V. Kalogera, D. Keppel, L. E. Kidder, B. J. Kelly, B. Krishnan, P. Laguna, C. O. Lousto, I. Mandel, P. Marronetti, R. Matzner, S. T. McWilliams, K. D. Matthews, R. A. Mercer, S. R. Mohapatra, A. H. Mroué, H. Nakano, E. Ochsner, Y. Pan, L. Pekowsky, H. A. Pfeiffer, D. Pollney, F. Pretorius, V. Raymond, C. Reisswig, L. Rezzolla, O. Rinne, C. Robinson, C. Röver, L. Santamaría, B. Sathyaprakash, M. A. Scheel, E. Schnetter, J. Seiler, S. L. Shapiro, D. Shoemaker, U. Sperhake, A. Stroeer, R. Sturani, W. Tichy, Y. T. Liu, M. van der Sluys, J. R. van Meter, R. Vaulin, A. Vecchio, J. Veitch, A. Viceré, J. T. Whelan, and Y. Zlochower. 2009. "Testing gravitational-wave searches with numerical relativity waveforms: results from the first Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project." Classical and Quantum Gravity, 26: 5008 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0264-9381/26/16/165008]

    Baker, J. G., W. D. Boggs, J. Centrella, et al. B. J. Kelly, S. T. McWilliams, M. C. Miller, and J. R. van Meter. 2008. "Modeling Kicks from the Merger of Generic Black Hole Binaries." The Astrophysical Journal, 682: L29 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/590927]

    Baker, J. G., J. Centrella, D. Choi, M. Koppitz, and J. van Meter. 2006. "Gravitational-Wave Extraction from an Inspiraling Configuration of Merging Black Holes." Physical Review Letters, vol 96, Issue 11, id 111102, 96: 111102 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.111102]

    Baker, J. G., J. Centrella, D. Choi, et al. M. Koppitz, J. R. van Meter, and M. C. Miller. 2006. "Getting a Kick Out of Numerical Relativity." The Astrophysical Journal, 653: L93 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/510448]

    Baker, J. G., J. Centrella, D. Choi, M. Koppitz, and J. van Meter. 2006. "Binary black hole merger dynamics and waveforms." Physical Review D, vol 73, Issue 10, id 104002, 73: 104002 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1103/PhysRevD.73.104002]

    Baker, J., and J. Centrella. 2005. "Impact of LISA's low-frequency sensitivity on observations of massive black-hole mergers." Classical and Quantum Gravity, 22: 355 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0264-9381/22/10/029]

    Centrella, J. M. 2003. "Resource Letter: GrW-1: Gravitational waves." American Journal of Physics, 71: 520 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1119/1.1543555]

    Brief Bio

    Joan Centrella received her PhD from Cambridge University, where she was a student at the Institute of Astronomy. Following postdoctoral appointments at the University of Texas and the University of Illinois, she joined the faculty of Drexel University in the Physics Department.  At Drexel, she developed a research group focused on studying astrophysical sources of gravitational waves.  She also taught physics and astronomy at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervised both graduate students and postdocs, and served as the advisor for all incoming graduate students in the department. 

    In 2001, she moved to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to join their newly-formed gravitational wave astrophysics group.  She initiated and led their source modeling and numerical relativity effort in support of LISA.  The primary focus of her research group was simulating the final merger of two black holes, considered to be the strongest and most important sources of gravitational radiation for both space-based and terrestrial detectors.  In 2005, the Goddard team was one of three groups to achieve dramatic research breakthroughs and solve this long-standing problem. In May 2007, she was awarded the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for ground-breaking work in the simulation of gravitational wave signals from merging black holes. In May 2008, she and John Baker were awarded the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; this is the center's highest honor for outstanding contributions in space science.

    In 2004 she became head of the Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, which encompasses the gravitational wave and theoretical astrophysics groups at Goddard.

    In May 2010, she took her current position as  Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Science Division.

    Research Interests: Astrophysical Sources of Gravitational Waves; Black Hole Mergers; Numerical Relativity; Structure Formation; Cosmology
     
    Interviews and Popular Articles
     

    • “Experimenting with Black Holes,” 2009, interviewed by ScienceFace.org, available online at: http://www.scienceface.org/, on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWILv7fNTqQ, and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/sciencefaceorg/87094134515

    • Interviewed by Sky and Telescope for podcast, 2009, available online at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/skytel/beyondthepage/39792292.html

    • “Solving the Mysteries of the Universe,” Interviewed by Scientific Computing World, October/November 2008 issue, online at: http://www.scientific-computing.com/features/feature.php?feature_id=209

    • “Computing Cosmic Cataclysms,” J. Centrella, B. Kelly, J. van Meter, J. Baker, R. Stebbins, and R. Naeye, 2008, popular article for the Department of Energy’s SciDAC Review, available online at: http://www.scidacreview.org/0802/html/astro.html

    Publications

    Refereed

    van Meter, J. R., J. H. Wise, M. C. Miller, et al. C. S. Reynolds, J. Centrella, J. G. Baker, W. D. Boggs, B. J. Kelly, and S. T. McWilliams. 2010. "Modeling Flows around Merging Black Hole Binaries." The Astrophysical Journal Letters 711 L89 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/2041-8205/711/2/L89]

    Cadonati, L., B. Aylott, J. G. Baker, et al. W. D. Boggs, M. Boyle, P. R. Brady, D. A. Brown, B. Brügmann, L. T. Buchman, A. Buonanno, J. Camp, M. Campanelli, J. Centrella, S. Chatterji, N. Christensen, T. Chu, P. Diener, N. Dorband, Z. B. Etienne, J. Faber, S. Fairhurst, B. Farr, S. Fischetti, G. Guidi, L. M. Goggin, M. Hannam, F. Herrmann, I. Hinder, S. Husa, V. Kalogera, D. Keppel, L. E. Kidder, B. J. Kelly, B. Krishnan, P. Laguna, C. O. Lousto, I. Mandel, P. Marronetti, R. Matzner, S. T. McWilliams, K. D. Matthews, R. A. Mercer, S. R. Mohapatra, A. H. Mroué, H. Nakano, E. Ochsner, Y. Pan, L. Pekowsky, H. P. Pfeiffer, D. Pollney, F. Pretorius, V. Raymond, C. Reisswig, L. Rezzolla, O. Rinne, C. Robinson, C. Röver, L. Santamaría, B. Sathyaprakash, M. A. Scheel, E. Schnetter, J. Seiler, S. L. Shapiro, D. Shoemaker, U. Sperhake, A. Stroeer, R. Sturani, W. Tichy, Y. T. Liu, M. van der Sluys, J. R. van Meter, R. Vaulin, A. Vecchio, J. Veitch, A. Viceré, J. T. Whelan, and Y. Zlochower. 2009. "Status of NINJA: the Numerical INJection Analysis project." Classical and Quantum Gravity 26 4008 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0264-9381/26/11/114008]

    Aylott, B., J. G. Baker, W. D. Boggs, et al. M. Boyle, P. R. Brady, D. A. Brown, B. Brügmann, L. T. Buchman, A. Buonanno, L. Cadonati, J. Camp, M. Campanelli, J. Centrella, S. Chatterji, N. Christensen, T. Chu, P. Diener, N. Dorband, Z. B. Etienne, J. Faber, S. Fairhurst, B. Farr, S. Fischetti, G. Guidi, L. M. Goggin, M. Hannam, F. Herrmann, I. Hinder, S. Husa, V. Kalogera, D. Keppel, L. E. Kidder, B. J. Kelly, B. Krishnan, P. Laguna, C. O. Lousto, I. Mandel, P. Marronetti, R. Matzner, S. T. McWilliams, K. D. Matthews, R. A. Mercer, S. R. Mohapatra, A. H. Mroué, H. Nakano, E. Ochsner, Y. Pan, L. Pekowsky, H. A. Pfeiffer, D. Pollney, F. Pretorius, V. Raymond, C. Reisswig, L. Rezzolla, O. Rinne, C. Robinson, C. Röver, L. Santamaría, B. Sathyaprakash, M. A. Scheel, E. Schnetter, J. Seiler, S. L. Shapiro, D. Shoemaker, U. Sperhake, A. Stroeer, R. Sturani, W. Tichy, Y. T. Liu, M. van der Sluys, J. R. van Meter, R. Vaulin, A. Vecchio, J. Veitch, A. Viceré, J. T. Whelan, and Y. Zlochower. 2009. "Testing gravitational-wave searches with numerical relativity waveforms: results from the first Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project." Classical and Quantum Gravity 26 5008 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0264-9381/26/16/165008]

    Baker, J. G., W. D. Boggs, J. Centrella, et al. B. J. Kelly, S. T. McWilliams, M. C. Miller, and J. R. van Meter. 2008. "Modeling Kicks from the Merger of Generic Black Hole Binaries." The Astrophysical Journal 682 L29 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/590927]

    Baker, J. G., J. Centrella, D. Choi, M. Koppitz, and J. van Meter. 2006. "Gravitational-Wave Extraction from an Inspiraling Configuration of Merging Black Holes." Physical Review Letters, vol 96, Issue 11, id 111102 96 111102 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.111102]

    Baker, J. G., J. Centrella, D. Choi, et al. M. Koppitz, J. R. van Meter, and M. C. Miller. 2006. "Getting a Kick Out of Numerical Relativity." The Astrophysical Journal 653 L93 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/510448]

    Baker, J. G., J. Centrella, D. Choi, M. Koppitz, and J. van Meter. 2006. "Binary black hole merger dynamics and waveforms." Physical Review D, vol 73, Issue 10, id 104002 73 104002 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1103/PhysRevD.73.104002]

    Baker, J., and J. Centrella. 2005. "Impact of LISA's low-frequency sensitivity on observations of massive black-hole mergers." Classical and Quantum Gravity 22 355 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0264-9381/22/10/029]

    Centrella, J. M. 2003. "Resource Letter: GrW-1: Gravitational waves." American Journal of Physics 71 520 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1119/1.1543555]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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