Colloquium

Accreting White Dwarfs as Universal Accretion Laboratories

Accreting white dwarfs (AWDs) are numerous, bright and nearby, making them excellent laboratories for the study of accretion physics. Since their accretion flows are unaffected by relativistic effects or ultra-strong magnetic fields, they provide a crucial "control" group for efforts to understand more complex/compact systems, such as accreting neutron stars (NSs) and black holes (BHs). I will review recent work on AWDs, which has revealed that these superficially simple systems actually exhibit the full range of accretion-related phenomenology seen in accreting NSs and BHs. Given this rich set of shared behaviour, it is reasonable to hope that much of accretion physics is universal. AWDs hold great promise in this context as observational testing grounds for attempts to model and understand this physics.

Followed by wine and cheese in Pupin 1402.

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