Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies 3:30 PM, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Sarah Caudill, UW Milwaukee - Physics Dept
Abstract: The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) recently confirmed one of the last predictions of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, that violent astrophysical collisions create ripples in the fabric of spacetime. On September 14, 2015, a gravitational wave signal from the collision of two massive black holes reached the Earth after traveling 1.3 billion years. The detection of this signal marks the beginning of gravitational wave astronomy and promises many more exciting discoveries in the near future. In this talk, I will discuss the methods that LIGO uses to detect the collisions of binary compact objects containing neutron stars and/or black holes and report on the most recent results from these searches. Additionally, I will discuss what we can learn from these collisions regarding the nature of spacetime.