4 Pulsar Timing3 The Galactic Pulsar Population3.4 The population of relativistic

3.5 Going further

Studies of pulsar population statistics represent a large proportion of the pulsar literature. During this section we have tried to cite many of the key papers in this field. Good starting points for further reading can be found in other review articles [167, 31, 156]. Our coverage of compact object coalescence rates has concentrated on empirical methods and we have hopefully convinced the reader that these are fair and straightforward.

An alternative approach is to undertake a full-blown Monte Carlo simulation of the most likely evolutionary scenarios described in §  2.4.3 . In this ``scenario-machine'' approach, a population of primordial binaries is synthesized with a number of underlying distribution functions: primary mass, binary mass ratio, orbital period distribution etc. The evolution of both stars is then followed to give a predicted sample of binary systems of all the various types. Since the full range of binary parameters is known, the merger rates of each type of binary are then automatically predicted by this model without the need to debate what the likely coalescence times will be. Selection effects are not normally taken into account in this approach. The final census is usually normalized to the star formation rate. Numerous examples of the scenario-machine approach (most often to populations of binaries where one or both members are NSs) can be found in the literature [69, 204, 252]. These include the widely-cited code, developed by Lipunov and collaborators to perform population syntheses of binary stars [227]. Although extremely instructive, the uncertain assumptions about initial conditions, the physics of mass transfer and the kicks applied to the compact object at birth result in a wide range of predicted event rates which are currently broader than the empirical methods [112]. Ultimately, the detection statistics from the gravitational wave detectors could provide far tighter constraints on the DNS merging rate than the pulsar surveys from which these predictions are made.

An excellent overview of gravitational-wave astronomy and the detection of gravitational waves from inspiraling binaries is presented by Thorne in his presentation at the centennial meeting of the American Physical Society which is available on-line [243].

4 Pulsar Timing3 The Galactic Pulsar Population3.4 The population of relativistic

image Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
Duncan R. Lorimer
© Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. ISSN 1433-8351
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