The direct observation of gravitational waves

Bruce Allen (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Hannover & University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) — March 6, 2018

For the first time, starting more than two years ago, the advanced LIGO and Virgo instruments have directly observed gravitational waves. The first signals seen were from the mergers of pairs of massive black holes, and more recently we have also observed the inspiral and merger of two neutron stars. I will talk about the history and current status of this field, the basic physics of our observations, what we have already learned, and our hopes and expectations for the future.

Bruce Allen is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, and Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Bruce has worked on models of the very early universe (inflationary cosmology, cosmic strings). He is now the leader of the Einstein@Home project for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. In this role, he was one of the first scientists to become aware of the initial detection of GW150914 at LIGO, in September 2015.

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