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Physics  1996 

The Role of Binaries in the Dynamical Evolution of Globular Clusters

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Three important developments are vastly increasing our understanding of the role of binaries in the dynamical evolution of globular clusters. From the observational side, the Hubble Space Telescope has shown us detailed pictures of the densest areas in post-collapse cluster cores. From the computational side, the Grape-4 special-purpose hardware is now allowing us to model small globular clusters on a star-by-star basis, and has already given us the first direct evidence of the occurrence of gravothermal oscillations in such systems. From the theoretical astrophysics side, integrated simulations are now becoming feasible that combine stellar dynamics with stellar evolution and hydrodynamics. Given these three developments, we can expect the current rapid progress in our understanding of globular cluster evolution to continue at an even higher rate during the foreseeable future. In this review an outline is given of the current status of globular cluster simulations, and the expected progress over the next five years.


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