In the past two years the gravitational-wave detections enabled by the LIGO detectors have launched a new field in observational astronomy allowing us to study compact object mergers involving pairs of black holes and neutron stars. I will discuss what current results reveal about compact object astrophysics, from binary black hole formation to short gamma-ray bursts and nuclear matter physics. I will also highlight what we can expect in the near future as detectors' sensitivity improves and multi-messenger astronomy further advances.
Vicky Kalogera is the lead astrophysicist in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), LIGO being the telescopes that first detected gravitational waves in 2015. She is an expert in the astrophysics of black holes and neutron stars and in LIGO data analysis, and has been a member of the LSC for more than 15 years. Kalogera's astrophysics research involves methods from applied mathematics, statistics and computer science, with extensive use of high-performance computing. Kalogera also studies the formation and evolution of stars and their remnants detectable as gamma-ray, X-ray, and radio pulsar sources in the electromagnetic spectrum in a wide range of stellar environments. Kalogera was recently awarded the 2018 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics by the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society.