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Physics Seminar: Observing the Universe with Gravitational Waves

September 29, 2021, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location Richardson Hall - 201
SponsorPhysics Club, Physics & Astronomy Department, SIAMPosted InCollege of Science and Mathematics
Simulation of colliding black hole [credit: SXS Collaboration, LIGO]

Talk Title: Observing the Universe with Gravitational Waves

Speaker: Prof. Marc Favata, Montclair State University

Location: Richardson Hall 201 and Zoom:


Gravitational waves are ripples in the 4-dimensional spacetime geometry that manifests as the gravitational field. These waves propagate at the speed of light and are primarily produced by dense concentrations of mass-energy moving at relativistic speeds. Colliding black holes or neutron stars are the most powerful emitters, and observing gravitational waves from these objects teaches us about their properties, formation, and environments. I will provide a broad overview of gravitational waves, discuss some of the mathematics and physical phenomena arising from Einstein's theory of relativity, and talk about how we detect gravitational waves and what we've learned so far. As time permits, I'll provide some details about my own work, including how black holes can get "kicked," nonlinear interactions in general relativity, modeling and constraining eccentric orbits, and approaches to testing alternative theories of gravity.