To Gravitational Wave Detection and Beyond!
On 12 February 2016 scientists announced that they had for the first time observed ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This discovery confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window to the cosmos. A second signal has allowed us to predict what we will hear when the detectors are tuned up. The prediction is staggering! Soon we will be able to hear a symphony from the universe. Over a continuous background of deep bass notes, there will be more and more crescendos that mark the self-annihilation of black hole pairs, as they collide and merge. By analysing the signals we will be able to answer big questions, such as: How many black holes are out there? Where did they come from? How much of the universe has already been swallowed up in black holes?” What is the future for the universe?
The talk will review the discoveries of the past year, and the long struggle and the huge international collaborative effort that led to them. It will also discuss some of the exciting opportunities ahead both in science and instrumentation.
Prof David Blair is the UWA Winthrop Professor and Australian International Gravitational Research Centre Director. David also co-founded the Gravity Discovery Centre in Gingin for the promotion of science in the State. Prof David McClelland is the Director of the ANU Centre for Gravitational Physics and led the Australian team who designed, installed and commissioned the advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory’s (aLIGO) lock acquisition subsystem and small optics suspensions. Based on his ground breaking work in quantum noise reduction he was appointed as Instrument Science Leader of the 1000 strong international LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
Date: Wednesday 28 September 2016
Places: The Common Room at University House at ANU, 1 Balmain Crescent, Acton
Time: 5:15 pm for drinks and networking followed by the talk at 6pm