Listening To The Universe With Gravitational Waves

Tuesday January 12, 2016 1:15 pm
Marlar Lounge (37-252)

Listening to the universe with gravitational waves

Activity Leader:  Professor Scott Hughes

Advanced LIGO is on the cusp of using gravitational waves as a tool for observing the universe.  What are gravitational waves, and how do we use them to observe the universe?  I will describe how gravitational waves are produced by violent and interesting astronomical events, and why they are especially useful for teaching us about those events.  I will emphasize that these waves are analogous to sound, and will illustrate how we learn from them with some examples of what theory tells us certain interesting example gravitational waves “sound like” to the “ears” of a detector like LIGO.

Please note: two related activities will follow Professor Hughes’ presentation.

Searching for Gravitational Waves with LIGO (Dr. Adam Libson, 2:00 – 2:30pm in 37-252
Tour of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Lab (Dr. Adam Libson, 2:30 – 4:00pm departing from 37-252).

10 people maximum for the LIGO Lab tour. Advance sign-up required, starting at 1:05pm immediately before Professor Hughes’ talk in 37-252. Attendance of both talks preceding the tour is required for signing up for the tour of LIGO lab. Tour will leave from 37-252 at 2:30pm, and last until about 4:00pm.