Starts 15 Jun 2016 16:30
Ends 15 Jun 2016 17:30
Central European Time
Leonardo Building - Budinich Lecture Hall
On September 14 2015, the two LIGO detectors simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal, which was named GW150914. The signal fits very precisely the general relativistic prediction for the inspiral, merger, and ringdown of a pair of black holes, with component masses greater than was thought possible for stellar-mass systems. This was the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.
M. Vallisneri describes the mechanics of this detection, which represents the culmination of 50 years of experimental and theoretical efforts; he further discusses the astrophysical implications of GW150914, and the tests of general relativity that can be performed with the signal. Lastly, he will comment on the importance of GW150914 for the field of gravitational-wave detection, and for current and future efforts to observe gravitational waves with dedicated space missions and with pulsar timing arrays.