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Albert Einstein, Black Holes and the Billion Dollar Search for Gravitational Waves

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Dr. Paul Lasky

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Physics
University of Melbourne

Abstract

The year 2015 will mark the hundredth anniversary of one of science's greatest achievements - Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Einstein's paradigm shifting theory forever changed the way we think about gravity, space, time and the Universe as a whole, making countless predictions about the existence and behaviour of some of the most exotic objects in existence. Two of these predictions have, to this day, eluded direct experimental verification - black holes and gravitational waves. Somewhat nostalgically, a billion dollar, worldwide experiment designed to detect these elusive predictions of Einstein's theory is likely to do so on this hundred year anniversary. Detection will open new windows on the Universe, thereby allowing for unprecedented views into the most exotic regions of the Universe.

Biography

Paul Lasky is a Research Fellow in Gravitational Wave Astrophysics at the University of Melbourne. He is interested in everything related to gravitational physics and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and is involved in a variety of research projects including topics such as neutron star and black hole physics, gravitational waves, cosmology, gravitational lensing and alternative theories of gravity. As a recent member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration, he is also contributing to the global gravitational wave detection effort by modelling LIGO sources and developing data analysis search algorithms.

Media

Slides of Paul's talk are available (apologies, no audio or video):