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A century ago, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. Their first detection in 2015 is claimed to be one of the greatest scientific achievements in history. This discovery gave birth to a new age of gravitational-wave astronomy and was followed by equally important scientific findings. Join us to find out all about them!
Gravitational waves: a new window to the universe
In this talk, Emma will take you on a journey through the gravitational wave universe. Learn about what gravitational waves are, how they are made, and how scientists detect them. Discover the monster gravitational wave machines that live in space, and how they can be used to solve the mysteries of the universe, as we embark on the era of multi-messenger astronomy.
A whisper from the edge of physics
Prof Nils Andersson (Professor of Applied Mathematics)
The science story of 2017 was undoubtedly the detection of gravitational waves from the inspiral and merger of two neutron stars. The fireworks that followed caught the attention of the astronomy community. The event brought into focus the promises of gravitational-wave astronomy, especially the opportunity to test our ideas about the extreme physics associated with neutron stars. Hopefully, this was a glimpse into the future and we will soon be able to regularly use observations to probe the very edge of physics. I will explain the main ideas involved and discuss the challenges we are facing.
Gravitational Waves and Light from a Merger of Two Neutron Stars
The detection of gravitational waves by LIGO was one of the most profound scientific breakthroughs of the century. The first LIGO events were dark mergers of massive black holes, but in late 2017 LIGO detected an event from the merger of two neutron stars. Astronomers around the world pointed their telescopes toward this event, and saw a rapidly evolving source of light known as a "kilonova" producing light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. I'll recount the story of how astronomers detected this momentous cosmic event, and describe the multitude of telescopes we used to observe it.