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Physics Colloquium Series, Spring 2016

Mar 3 , Thursday: 4:15 p.m. / Rockefeller 301

Leslie E. Wade , Kenyon College

Gravitational waves discovered: The recent detection of an ancient binary black hole merger

On September 14, 2015 the two ground-based interferometers that comprise the LIGO network directly observed the gravitational-wave signature of a 1.3 billion-year-old binary black hole merger. This incredible discovery is not only the first direct detection of gravitational waves, which cements Einstein’s prediction of their existence, it is also the first ever observation of two black holes merging. Between the time of the detection and the time of the public announcement, the activity of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration was shrouded in secrecy in an effort to squash any premature rumors and conduct a thorough, unbiased analysis of the validity of this incredible finding. As an active member of the discovery team, I will tell the story of this historic detection from the perspective of someone "on the inside".
Host: Harsh Mathur