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Colloquium: LIGO, Virgo, and Gravitational Waves: The Dawn of a New Kind of Astronomy

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David Reitze, University of Florida
When
01 March 2018 from 3:45 PM to 4:45 PM
Where
117 Osmond Laboratory
Contact Name
Chaoxing Liu
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We are witnessing a revolution in astronomy brought about by the first direct detections of gravitational waves by LIGO and Virgo.  Ten years ago many wondered when or even if gravitational waves could be detected on earth; today observations of binary black hole mergers detected through their gravitational wave emissions are becoming routine.  The first observation of two colliding neutron stars in August 2017, captured both in gravitational waves and in light, has given us new insights into gamma ray bursts, kilonovae, the formation of heavy elements, and even gravity itself.  
Gravitational waves provide unique information about the most energetic astrophysical events, revealing insights into the nature of gravity, matter, space, and time.  In this talk, I’ll cover gravitational waves and what makes them so difficult to detect and at the same time such powerful and unique probes of the universe. Most of the presentation will focus on the interferometers, the LIGO-Virgo detections and their astrophysical implications.  Time permitting, I’ll give a preview of where LIGO intends to go in the next decade and beyond.
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