As a core member of the Compact Object Mergers: Populations, Astrophysics, and Statistics (COMPAS) group, I spend most of my time thinking about Binary Stellar Evolution (BSE) models and ways to improve them. As a brief overview, BSE is the study of systems of two stars which are close enough to interact, affecting the evolution of the individual stars as well as the binary as a whole.
BSE codes seek to reproduce a variety of astrophysical observables of binary star systems which exist in isolation of other systems (motivated by the low interaction rate of binaries in the Galactic disk). These models must necessarily use simplified assumptions and prescriptions of physics that is either very complex, poorly understood, or both.
My research involves ways to test model prescriptions and distributions relevant to BSE against observations of Galactic pulsars, Double Neutron Stars, and double compact object mergers which produce Gravitational Waves.