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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PHYSICS COLLOQUIUM: Homing In on Gravitational Waves

The direct detection of gravitational waves has been anticipated for decades. A remarkable prediction of general relativity, these traveling perturbations of spacetime are believed to carry the gravitational echoes of extreme astrophysical events such as the births and mergers of neutron stars and black holes. However, the vanishingly small amplitudes of the waves when they reach Earth makes them incredibly challenging to detect. Nevertheless, highly sophisticated detectors based on laser interferometry have been built and operated over the past decade and are believed to be on the verge of detecting these elusive signals. Peter Shawhan, UMD Physics, will describe some of the data analysis results obtained so far which are starting to constrain astrophysical models. Detector upgrades currently in progress are expected to yield the first detections later this decade, opening up a new window on astronomy and astrophysics and enabling new tests of the fundamental nature of gravity. {Will appear in FYI on Sep 13, 2011
Start Time:
4:00 PM
End Time:
5:00 PM
Common Location Name:
Web Address:
Other Contact Information:
Carole Cuaresma Kiger +1 301 405 5945

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