Entrada Departamento Notícias Palestra Gravitational Waves – the new messenger from the Cosmos

Palestra Gravitational Waves – the new messenger from the Cosmos

Palestra Gravitational Waves – the new messenger from the Cosmos

Photo credit: Bryce Vickmark

Professor David Shoemaker

Spokesperson da Colaboração LIGO

10 de novembro de 2017 às 14:30

Auditório Ferreira da Silva – FCUP


Summary: Einstein's theory of General Relativity led him to predict, in 1916, that there should be gravitational waves: shudders in space-time, created in measurable strength when stars or black holes collide. Einstein's own calculations showed these to be so weak that he said they would never be seen.

We set out, in the 1970's, to prove Einstein right (that there were gravitational waves) and wrong (that in fact we _could_ detect them). In the US, and elsewhere, technology was developed to make the incredibly sensitive measurements needed: to see 0.0000000000000000001 meters of motion, or otherwise said to see the distance to the nearest star (Alpha Centuri) change by the thickness of a human hair.

On September 14, 2015, we succeeded in making our first detections, of two black holes. We now have seen more signals, and the story they tell about the cosmos is incredible, and brand new — the gravitational waves carry information no telescope or satellite can detect, but putting our information together with those traditional observatories allows that much more to be understood.

There is a great future for these new observatories, and the talk will conclude with a view to the future.

Biography: David Shoemaker is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Kavli Institute. He received degrees from MIT in 1980 on contributions to the COBE cosmic background satellite, and from the Université de Paris in 1987 on methods for the interferometric detection of gravitational waves. He served as the Leader for the Advanced LIGO Detector Project, and was elected the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Spokesperson in 2017. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and shared the Milner, Gruber, and Berkeley prizes as well as the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research for the detection of gravitational waves with his LIGO Scientific Collaboration colleagues.

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