Black-holes and neutron stars are extremely important astrophysical objects, which become unique laboratories of extreme physics when found within X-ray binaries. Their study provides high-impact results, which are relevant for many astrophysics and fundamental physics areas. Our project target fundamental properties of both the accretion process onto black-holes and the nature and demographics of the compact objects themselves, and thus we will most likely yield high impact results. As we have extensively demonstrated in our curricula vitae, the scientific results will be published in international referred publications such as ApJ, MNRAS and A&A and the most relevant results will appear in Nature and Science, where our team has a very successful publication record (recent examples are Casares et al. 2014 and Muñoz-Darias et al. 2016 both published in Nature).
As a matter of fact, our equipo-de-investigación [Muñoz-Darias, Torres, Casares] has published 71 different papers in the last 3 years (i.e. from June 2014) on the precise research lines tackled by this project. The list of specific research goals and projects summarised above show that a comparable, if not higher, number should be expected for the next 3 years. We note that the large majority of the above publications are within small collaborations, where we have a leading/relevant role (e.g. leading role in more than 20 papers over the last 3 years). Moreover, the significant contribution expected from the equipo-de-trabajo together with the internationally recognised expertise of several of their members also ensure high impact results. The equipo-de-trabajo includes one IAC staff (Shahbaz) and one young Juan de la Cierva research fellow (Armas Padilla), who will contribute to the specific projects listed above, in addition to two Phd students (in 3rd and 4rd year). We have also included three very selected international collaborators: Prof. Rob Fender, and Dr. Gabriele Ponti (long-term collaborators of Muñoz-Darias); and Dr. Peter Jonker (close collaborator of Torres and Casares). Fender and Jonker are ERC holders (advance/consolidator, respectively) while Ponti is a young, World leader in observations of X-ray winds. In addition to peer review publications, we will also present our results at prestigious conferences such as IAU and EWASS general assemblies, COSPAR colloquia and specialised conferences (e.g. Royal Astronomical Society discussion meetings), very often in the form of invited talks, lectures and reviews. We also give frequent colloquia and seminars at international research centres and universities. We also participate in national meetings such as the SEA assembly and the Spanish X-ray astronomy meeting (every 2 years). Finally, as we have done in the past, our research results will keep feeding our outreach activities, such as science/astronomy interviews in national (El País, El Mundo, RNE) and international media (CBS news), and public talks.
Accreting black-holes and neutron stars in X-ray binaries provide an ideal laboratory for exploring the physics of compact objects, yielding not only confirmation of the existence of stellar mass black holes via dynamical mass measurements, but also the best opportunity for probing high-gravity environments and the physics of accretion; the most