Tim Waters

Computational astrophysicist

About Me

I’m currently a postdoc at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) working in Daniel Proga's group. I was formerly a postdoc in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Hui Li's plasma astrophysics group. I obtained my PhD in 2017 under Daniel Proga at UNLV.

I specialize in modeling the UV and X-ray dominated environments of low-mass X-ray binaries (the stellar mass black holes observed in our own galaxy) and active galactic nuclei (actively accreting supermassive black holes in distant galaxies). I’m especially interested in developing computational models that are realistic enough to be used to produce synthetic spectra, so that a direct comparison with observational data can be made. In this sense, I consider myself a theoretical X-ray astronomer.

Much of my work involves solving the equations of non-adiabatic hydrodynamics or magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) numerically. For this, I mainly use the code Athena++, although I sometimes also use K-Athena, a GPU code based on Athena++ that is built using Kokkos, as well as Cholla, a GPU hydro code written in CUDA.

On my projects page, I list links to any research projects for which I've created accompanying webpages. Besides showcasing how our group's animation tools have evolved over the years, it serves to illustrate how two very different modeling approaches — local simulations to better understand multiphase gas dynamics and global accretion∕outflow simulations to probe large scale dynamics — are now beginning to come together.