I am an Associate Professor at the University of Rome – Tor Vergata. My research interests lie in the field of time domain astronomy, and include the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and exotic transients such as kilonovae, fast radio bursts and tidal disruption events. In my career I worked on a variety of different aspects of the GRB phenomenon, although my primary focus is the connection between gamma-ray bursts, neutron star mergers, and gravitational wave sources.
Compact binary mergers are prime targets for multi-messenger astrophysics. They are binary systems composed by either two neutron stars (NS-NS) or a neutron star and a black hole (NS-BH) which slowly spiral into each other and eventually collide due to energy losses to gravitational radiation. These mergers lie at the intersection of several key aspects of modern astrophysics:
- they are the most likely cause of short duration gamma-ray bursts;
- they are strong sources of gravitational wave radiation, and prime candidates for direct detection with advanced LIGO and Virgo;
- they are the most promising r-process sites for the formation of all the heavy elements (i.e. gold, platinum, uranium, …) found on Earth.
These three fundamental areas of investigation are at the core of my research. My work aims at characterizing the observational signatures of compact object mergers and at combining multiple messengers, such as gravitational waves and photons, to answer deep questions about the Universe and fundamental physics: from the behavior of matter at supranuclear densities to the cosmic production of metals and the expansion of the Universe as a whole.