Opening a New Ear to the Universe with Gravitational Waves

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 309 (Hynes Convention Center)
The first direct detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was a global news sensation in February 2016, but the real story is still to come. Gravitational waves are “ripples” in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the universe. Predicted by Albert Einstein in his 1916 general theory of relativity, the waves are not caused by electromagnetic radiation. Therefore, they provide a view of the universe that is completely new and outside the abilities of conventional electromagnetic fields of study such as astronomy. The waves carry information about cosmic objects and events such as the collision of black holes, neutron stars, and supernovae, but without the distortion suffered by electromagnetic radiation as it traverses intergalactic space. This session explains for a multidisciplinary audience what gravitational waves are, how scientists are detecting them on Earth and in space, and why our ability to do so will allow humanity to delve further and deeper into the origins, history, and future of the universe – and into the nature of time itself.
Terry O'Connor, U.K. Science and Technology Facilities Council
Gabriela Gonzålez, Louisiana State University
Sheila Rowan, University of Glasgow
Takaaki Kajita, University of Tokyo
Gravitational Waves: A New Ear to the Universe
Sarah Spolaor, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
The Astrophysics of Gravitational Wave Research
See more of: Physics and Astronomy
See more of: Scientific Sessions