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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 5016

  Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Whitord Public Talk Astronomy
Einstein's Waves: Cosmic Sounds from Black Holes and Neutron Stars
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Vicky Kalogera, Northwestern University
Abstract: For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from cataclysmic events in the distant universe. These recent observations confirm a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and open an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. Gravitational waves carry unique information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the mergers of two black holes but also during the last hundred seconds of the collision of two neutron stars. The latter is the first ever cosmic event to be observed both in gravitational waves and in electromagnetic waves, shedding light to several longstanding puzzles, like the production of gold in nature and the physics origins of brief gamma-ray flashes. I will review the beginnings of this exciting field of cosmic exploration and the unprecedented technology and engineering that made it possible.
Host: Prof Robert Mathieu
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