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Duke Physics Colloquium: Exploring the Universe with gravitational waves

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019
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3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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Jessica McIver (Caltech)
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Duke Physics Colloquium

"Exploring the Universe with gravitational waves" - 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 first detection of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger by LIGO in 2015 was recently awarded a Nobel Prize, and the 2017 detection of gravitational waves by LIGO and Virgo in concert with an associated electromagnetic counterpart was a breakthrough in multi-messenger astronomy and provided the first gravitational wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant. Future gravitational wave observations will provide exciting new insight into the expansion of the Universe and other key open questions in astrophysics, including the distribution of stellar remnants in the Universe, the evolution of compact binary systems, galaxy formation, and the explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae. I will present new data science and machine learning techniques to address major outstanding challenges in gravitational wave astronomy and enable future multi-messenger discoveries. I will discuss how the rapidly developing field of gravitational wave astrophysics will shape our understanding of the Universe, including the growing global interferometer network, the next generation of terrestrial interferometers, and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Faculty host: Chris Walter | Refreshments will be available before the event.

Contact: Cristin Paul