Physics Public Lecture - Black holes and merging neutron stars: frontiers in gravitational-wave astronomy

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Event Details

25 September 2018 at 7:30 am – 25 September 2018 at 7:30 pm
Lecture Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk
Open to:
Public lectures; Science


The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rai Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”, ripples in fabric of spacetime caused by some of the most extreme events in the Universe. The discovery of gravitational waves from merging black holes will be remembered as a watershed moment in physics, offering dramatic confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and opening a new window on the Universe.

However, while black hole enthusiasts around the world celebrated this stunning achievement, gravitational-wave astronomers harboured a secret. A new source of gravitational waves had been detected, this time from a pair of ultra-dense neutron stars. Moreover, the merging neutron stars produced an electromagnetic glow, which would be recorded by dozens of telescopes around the world. The results, released in October, 2017, sent the astronomical community into a frenzy.

In this talk, the rapidly changing landscape of gravitational-wave astronomy from the perspective of a gravitational-wave astronomer will be discussed.

About the speaker

Dr Eric Thrane is a senior lecturer at Monash University where he studies cosmology, astrophysics and gravitational waves. He holds an ARC Future Fellowship and is the Data Theme Leader Monash Node Leader for OzGrav: the ARC Centre of Ecellent for Gravitational-wave Discovery. He was previously a senior postdoctoral scholar at Caltech, and served as co-chair of the LIGO stochastic data analysis group from 2011-2017.

Dianne Ruka