Janosz Dewberry

PhD candidate
University of Cambridge Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics


I am a PhD student studying astrophysical fluid dynamics at the University of Cambridge, in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. I work with Dr. Henrik Latter and Professor Gordon Ogilvie to explore the dynamics of astrophysical accretion disks.

My research

Accretion disks are both ubiquitous in astrophysics, and essential to many of the phenomenon observed in our universe. Appearing around young stars, compact objects like black holes, and even Saturn, astrophysical disks provide a host of interesting problems for theoreticians to consider. In my PhD I have focused in particular on the magnetohydrodynamic aspects of accretion disk oscillations and instabilities.

Learn more about my research here:

Diskoseismic oscillations

`High-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations' (HFQPOs) observed in the emission from black hole binary systems present an important but unresolved problem in astrophysics. One explanation involves the amplification of `diskoseismic' trapped inertial waves, confined to the inner regions of a black hole accretion disk by relativistic effects.

Color-plot showing the pressure perturbation (in radius and height above/below the disk) due to a trapped inertial wave in the inner regions of an accretion disk around a Kerr black hole.

The un-magnetized, hydrodynamic theory of r-modes fits well with observations. However, the waves' properties are altered by magnetic fields, which provide restoring forces through magnetic tension and pressure. In pursuing my PhD, I have examined the effects of magnetic fields with different geometries on trapped inertial waves. While the tension force from a vertically aligned magnetic field can modify the r-mode trapping cavity, I have found that a `toroidal' magnetic field aligned with the circulation of the flow reduces this effect by altering the acoustic properties of the oscillations.

An exagerated illustration of a hydromagnetic r-mode's distortion of a vertically aligned magnetic field.

Trapped inertial waves grow in amplitude when they interact with large-scale deformations (warps and eccentricities) in the accretion disc. I have been running non-linear, magnetohydrodynamic simulations to explore this excitation mechanism in relativistic disks with eccentric (non-circular) streamlines.

This video of azimuthally averaged mass flux shows the excitation of a trapped inertial wave via coupling with accretion disk eccentricity.

Wave excitation in eccentric discs

I am also interested in the evolution of eccentric disks with non-circular streamlines in more general (non-relativistic) contexts. One of my current projects is related to the excitation of oscillations on both large and small scales in eccentric, purely Newtonian disks.

This video shows vertical averages of the fluid variables in a simulation of a 3D eccentric disk. The flow precesses due to pressure effects, while the non-circular streamlines drive the growth of small-scale inertial oscillations and subsonic turbulence.

Magnetorotational instability

The magnetorotational instability (MRI) provides a widely accepted explanation for turbulent accretion in astrophysical disks. Although studied extensively in local simulations, numerical capabilities have only recently permitted explorations of the dynamics of MRI turbulence on a truly global scale. I am interested in how the MRI might drive, damp or otherwise interact with other waves and instabilities in astrophysical accretion flows.

A slice showing the radial magnetic field perturbation associated with a large-scale MRI mode in the linear stage of growth.



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    DAMTP, Wilberforce Rd
    Cambridge, CB3 0WA, UK