LIGO and the Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy
Lecturer: Peter Fritschel
Senior Research Scientist
MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
On September 14, 2015, scientists observed the collision and fusion of two black holes by directly measuring the gravitational waves emitted during their collision, using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). This detection came almost exactly 100 years after Einstein developed his revolutionary general theory of relativity that predicted their existence, and 50 years after scientists began searching for them in earnest. Since then, several more gravitational-wave events have been detected. These discoveries have truly profound implications for physics and astronomy. Gravitational waves provide unique information on the most energetic astrophysical events, revealing unique insights into the nature of gravity, matter, space, and time. LIGO has opened a new window onto the universe. I will talk about how we made these detections and discuss how gravitational wave astronomy promises to change our understanding of the universe.
The Lynford Lecture is sponsored by Jeffrey and Tondra Lynford and the Institute of Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing (IMAS).
Learn more about the Lynford Lecture Series