First Sight: Black Holes and The Epic Effort to Detect Gravitational Radiation

- This talk is part of our continuing Young Researchers series. 
- Our Open Seating Policy will be in effect. 
- Look for us upstairs in the Wine Lounge.
- See below for parking information.
- Attendees will receive an email with an online form to order dinner items in advance. 

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First Sight: Black Holes and The Epic Effort to Detect Gravitational Radiation
Lionel London, Research Assistant
Center for Relativistic Astrophysics
Georgia Institute of Technology

Since Einstein’s 1915 development of General Relativity we've had a description of space and time that says at least a few remarkable things about the world we live in. General Relativity says that if everything in the universe follows the same rules, then space and time must be flexible, and dynamic. In a connected way, the theory also says that massive objects can warp and even induce waves in space-time. And as space-time undulates, so does the influence of gravity. Together, these ideas tell us that when a child claps her hands, she not only produces a sharp pulse of sound, but she also causes infinitesimally small waves in the fabric of space and time. If you could see these distortions with the naked eye, as if they were waves of light, not gravity, they would appear as a pulse, shimmering and fleeting.

For the past 50 years physicists have been trying, without success, to build a device that allows us to detect gravitational waves. But rather than looking for the minuscule gravitational waves produced by everyday occurrences, we have to focus on truly massive objects such as black holes and neutron stars. But what do we hope to learn? How hard is it, and why does it matter?

In my talk I’ll survey what we hope to learn from detecting gravitational waves. I will also attempt to describe the breadth of current detection efforts.

About Lionel
Lionel London is a 4th year Physics PhD student in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on interfacing black hole perturbation theory with numerical simulations of black hole collisions.
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Parking and Such
Java Vino is located diagonally across the street from Manuel's Tavern. There is parking behind the building and on Williams Mill Road across the street. Manuel's reserves the use of their lots at all times, but parking there hasn't presented a problem for our guests so far.

Enter the cafe on the street level and let them know that your order will count toward our minimum order requirement.

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  • Nathan

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    September 12, 2013

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    Work did me wrong

    September 11, 2013

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