Applied Physics/Physics Colloquium: Advanced LIGO

Advanced LIGO: The Coming Dawn of Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Hewlett 201
David Reitze (Caltech)
Abstract / Description: 

For more than 50 years, scientists have endeavored to detect gravitational waves from galactic and extra-galactic compact astrophysical sources such as supernovae and merging neutron stars and black holes. Beginning in the 1960's, a series of ever more sensitive instruments were constructed to search for them. Alas, no gravitational waves have yet been found.

With Advanced LIGO coming online in 2015, we have good reason to believe that is about to change. In this colloquium I'll discuss gravitational waves, what makes them so interesting and challenging to detect, and how the Advanced LIGO interferometers will hunt for them. Gravitational wave science cuts across a broad swath of disciplines: general relativity, classical and quantum optics, materials science, and multi-messenger astronomy, so there should be something in the talk for everyone.