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Scientific Goals of the Emmy Noether Research Group

The project aims at gaining a sound theoretical understanding of the explosion phase of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). These objects have been applied as cosmological distance indicators and led to the discovery of the currently accelerated expansion of the universe.

This implies a new "Dark Energy" form to dominate the universe and SNe Ia can again be instrumental in constraining its equation of state. Such measurements, however, rely on empirical calibration techniques and a sound theoretical understanding of SNe Ia is required to increase their reliability and accuracy.

Over the past years, observational campaigns produced a wealth of high-quality data calling for a theoretical interpretation. Only models can provide answers to questions concerning the accuracy, possible systematic errors and evolutionary effects in the distance measurements.

With sophisticated three-dimensional numerical simulations several options in building such models will be explored and the results will be compared with observations. The objective is to contribute to the understanding of SNe Ia by developing a theoretical scenario consistent with prototypical SNe Ia explosions and capable of reproducing the observed range of variability among SNe Ia.

On the basis of this work, a suite of numerical simulations is to be constructed varying initial parameters of the explosion process. From these, the origin the diversity of SNe Ia shall be identified and consequences for the calibration of cosmological distance determinations and its far-reaching implications shall be derived.