Andrea Derdzinski

NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Astronomy Department, Columbia University

My thesis with Zoltan Haiman broadly focuses on the impact of gas in the evolution of binary black hole systems and the possibility for electromagnetic counterparts to these sources of gravitational waves, whether during the final stages of inspiral or post-merger. I use the hydrodynamical simulation codes DISCO and FLASH.

Research Interests

EM counterparts to GW events

I'm running hydrodynamical simulations of black hole migration to investigate the influence of gas on black hole binaries. I'm also exploring the response of a disk to a SMBH binary merger, as perturbations in the disk may lead to shocks that produce characteristic electromagnetic signatures following the emission of gravitational waves!

Modeling dust formation in novae

Increasing evidence supports that shocks are ubiquitous in nova outflows and are responsible for powering nova emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. These shocks are likely radiative and can form dust formation sites within the ejecta that are shielded from ionizing radiation. Here's the paper. I'm interested in how this type of rapid dust formation may occur in other transient phenomena.

The fate of interacting white dwarf binaries

In between these projects, I spend time thinking about the evolution of super-Eddington mass transfering white dwarf binaries. With numerical and hydrodynamical models, I am finding that these binaries can significantly alter their circumbinary environment before they merge and (possibly) produce type Ia supernovae.


I participated in the Institute for Science and Engineering Educators Professional Development Program in 2015 and in 2016 as a Design Team Leader.
From 2016-2017, I received the Lead Teaching Fellowship for the Astronomy Department at Columbia University.


When I'm not thinking about space, I'm probably planning the next camping or rock climbing trip.

Email me for an updated version of my CV.