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Amir Levinson

PI (Black Holes)

I am a professor in the school of physics and astronomy at Tel Aviv University, Israel.   My research interests include analytical and numerical studies of plasma dynamics in the magnetospheres of neutron stars and black holes, gamma-ray and neutrino emission from black holes, the physics of shock breakout in strong stellar explosions, and more.   Part of my recent research has been carried out jointly with team members of the Simons Collaboration, and I am excited to continue this line of investigation.


Much of my research on black holes in recent years have focused on various aspects related to formation of force-free outflows and dissipation in the magnetosphere,  including kinetic studies of plasma injection and dynamics in the inner magnetosphere and its implications for black hole activation and high-energy magnetospheric emission,  formation of striped jets and dissipative coronae by advection of small scale magnetic fields,  and the possibility of neutrino production in magnetized coronae  of supermassive BHs.   I have also studied the propagation, collimation, stability, and dissipation of relativistic jets, with applications to the broadband emission observed in GRBs, AGNs and microquasars.   In relation to neutron stars, I have considered the dynamics of spark gaps, and recently was involved in a work demonstrating that fast radio bursts can be generated by magnetic reconnection in a compressed current sheet of a magnetar wind.


My other area of research has been the physics of radiation mediated shocks. These shocks generate the first electromagnetic signal observed in all types of stellar explosions.   With my collaborators I developed detailed models of such shocks that can be used to predict the properties of the shock breakout emission, which carries important information about the progenitors and explosion mechanisms.  Recently I realized that in relativistic radiation mediated shocks plasma kinetic effects might play an important role, and with my collaborators we are currently trying to understand how this might affect the shock breakout signal.

Five recent relevant references

A kinetic study of black hole activation by local plasma injection into the inner magnetosphere, I. Niv; O. Bromberg; A. Levinson; B. Cerutti; B. Crinquand, 2023 submitted to MNRAS (arXiv:2306.09161v1)


Electromagnetic Fireworks: Fast Radio Bursts from Rapid Reconnection in the Compressed Magnetar Wind, J. F. Mahlmann; A.A. Philippov; A. Levinson; A. Spitkovsky; H. Hakobyan, 2022, ApJL 932 L20 


GRMHD simulations of BH activation by small scale magnetic loops: formation of striped jets and active coronae, A. Chashkina; O. Bromberg; A. Levinson, 2021, MNRAS 508, 1241–1252


Comprehensive Analysis of Magnetospheric Gaps around Kerr Black Holes Using 1D GRPIC Simulations, S. Kisaka; A. Levinson; K. Toma, 2020, ApJ 902 80

Particle-in-cell simulations of pair discharges in a starved magnetosphere of a Kerr black hole, A. Levinson; B. Cerutti, 2018, A&A 616, A184


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