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Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Mississippi


Event Information:

  • Thu

    Colloquium: Gravitational Wave Astrophysics: A New Era of Discovery

    4:00 pmLewis Hall 101

    Jessica McIver
    Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
    California Institute of Technology

    Gravitational Wave Astrophysics: A New Era of Discovery

    Large-scale interferometric detectors including LIGO and Virgo sense gravitational waves; minuscule fluctuations in space-time from the most extreme phenomena in the Universe. The recent detection of gravitational waves by LIGO and Virgo in concert with an associated electromagnetic counterpart was a breakthrough in multi-messenger astronomy that confirmed the association between neutron star collisions and short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and yielded new insight into the physical engine driving GRBs. Future gravitational wave observations have the potential to provide critical insight into key open questions in astrophysics, including the distribution of compact objects in the Universe, the evolution of compact binary systems, galaxy formation, and the explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae.

    I will present the major outstanding challenges in gravitational wave astrophysics, including searching for transient signals in noisy data that contains a high rate of transient noise artifacts. I will discuss future prospects for how this quickly growing field will shape our understanding of the Universe.