Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi

Events

Event Information:

  • Thu
    14
    Feb
    2019

    Colloquium: Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Properties of Matter and Spacetime

    4:00 pmLewis Hall 101

    David Nichols
    Institute of Physics
    University of Amsterdam

    Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Properties of Matter and Spacetime

    Gravitational waves from the mergers of ten binary black holes and one binary neutron star were detected in the first two observing runs by the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors. In this talk, I will discuss the eleven gravitational-wave detections and the electromagnetic observations that accompanied the neutron-star merger. These detections confirmed many of the predictions of general relativity, and they initiated the observational study of strongly curved, dynamical spacetimes and their highly luminous gravitational waves. One aspect of these high gravitational-wave luminosities that LIGO and Virgo will be able to measure is the gravitational-wave memory effect: a lasting change in the gravitational-wave strain produced by energy radiated in gravitational waves. I will describe how this effect is related to symmetries and conserved quantities of spacetime, how the memory effect can be measured with LIGO and Virgo, and how new types of memory effects have been recently predicted. I will conclude by discussing the plans for the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors after LIGO and Virgo and the scientific capabilities of these new detectors. These facilities could detect millions of black-hole and neutron-star mergers per year, and they can provide insights on a range of topics from the population of short gamma-ray bursts to the presence of dark matter around black holes.