Thu15Feb20184:00 pmLewis Hall 101
Colloquium: Gravitational Wave Astrophysics: A New Era of Discovery
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.