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**UNC-CH Physics & Astronomy Preliminary Oral Exam**

Erik Forseth, UNC-CH

**“High-Precision Calculations for Extreme-Mass-Ratio Inspirals.”**

The gravitational two-body problem is of considerable interest, not only for intrinsic theoretical reasons, but also for the near-term prospects of detecting gravitational radiation from compact binary inspirals. Though simple to state, the problem is not exactly solvable. In order to understand how binary orbits evolve through inspiral and eventual merger, various approximation methods must be invoked. It is important to refine these methods as much as possible. A passing gravitational wave carries a great deal of information about the binary system from which it was produced, but there will be a high level of noise associated with detection by the next generation of experiments. In order to extract system parameters from the signal, it will be necessary to have a bank of very accurate wave-form templates so that a matched filtering procedure can be performed. Therefore, the dynamics of the orbital evolution must be known to a high degree of accuracy. We discuss one such scheme for approximating the orbit, called Black Hole Perturbation Theory (BHPT). We present extremely high-precision calculations in BHPT, and show how these may be used to inform another approximation method, called Post-Newtonian Theory.