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Dynamic Evolution of Stellar Clusters

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jérôme Guilet.

Dense, self-gravitating N-body systems such as globular clusters are natural laboratories for studying stellar dynamics in extreme environments. Their evolution can be qualitatively understood as a strive to establish balance between core contraption and expansion: The gravothermal instability leads the system toward core collapse, while a variety of other physical processes, such as binary-single star interactions, mass loss induced by stellar evolution, or interactions with central black holes, tend to fuel core expansion. I will present an overview of this complex, yet intuitive interplay of diverse physics in dense stellar systems, presenting results from direct N-body simulations and analytical models. I will conclude discussing how theoretical insight of stellar dynamics signatures aids the design of observations aimed at identifying globular clusters that may harbor elusive intermediate mass black holes.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Astro Lunch series.

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