Past Event

Gravitational wave astronomy: from black holes to the cosmos

February 14, 2024
4:05 PM - 5:05 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Pupin 1402

Colloquium by Max Isi, CCA

Gravitational waves reveal the universe through an entirely new spectrum, complementary to electromagnetic and neutrino observations. Although the field is less than a decade old, LIGO detections have already revolutionized our understanding of black holes and neutron stars, with implications for gravity, stellar and galactic astrophysics, nuclear physics and cosmology. In this talk, I will outline those connections by focusing on black hole mergers—currently the most abundant source of gravitational waves. I will explain how they manifest rich relativistic dynamics that can be leveraged for astrophysics and cosmology, but that are themselves not yet fully understood. I will show how answering questions about the physics of black-hole mergers, as well as developing robust statistical techniques to analyze them, is crucial for realizing the promise of gravitational-wave astronomy as an engine for astrophysics and cosmology. Developments of this kind are all the more important given the continuous improvement of our instruments, which will reach redshifts of z ~ 100 by the end of the next decade and give us access to whole new types of sources with extraordinary precision. With the right analysis tools and theoretical foundation, the potential for discovery is unprecedented.

Followed by wine and cheese.

Host: Kathryn Johnston