Gravity and the Unseen Sky
Presented by Sydney Chamberlin
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
4:00 P.M. in 169-336
Gravitational waves are small perturbations to the spacetime structure of the universe. Predicted to exist by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the direct detection of gravitational waves is currently a major goal in experimental astrophysics. The observation of gravitational waves will open a new observational window on the universe, and provide a new testing ground for general relativity. Several large-scale efforts to detect gravitational waves are currently underway worldwide. Of these, the most promising on the five to ten year timescale are ground-based laser interferometers and pulsar timing arrays, which aim to detect gravitational waves in the 10-103 Hz and 10-9-10-7 Hz frequency ranges, respectively. In this talk, I will explain how these experiments are complementary and describe some of the progress being made towards the first direct detections. I will also discuss some of the astrophysical implications of a direct detection of gravitational waves and describe how the observations from pulsar timing arrays in particular can be used to robustly test general relativity.
JPL Contact: Curt Cutler (3-3251)