TITLE: Accretion Disk Reactions to Binary Black Hole Mergers

SPEAKER: Sean O'Neill (University of Maryland)

ABSTRACT: Merging supermassive binary black holes are among the most promising potential sources of gravitational waves for the planned Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Associating these gravitational waves with electromagnetic merger signals would enable merging systems to serve as useful probes of cosmology, general relativity, and accretion physics. I will discuss various proposed signatures of binary black hole merger, focusing on the role of accretion disks in facilitating observable electromagnetic emission. Specifically, I will discuss my work on one particular scenario in which accretion disks respond to the abrupt change in black hole mass caused by gravitational wave emission.