Gravitational waves are the ‘ripples’ in the fabric of spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and produced by some of the most violent events in the cosmos. On September 14th 2015 two giant laser interferometers known as LIGO, the most sensitive scientific instruments ever built, made the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of massive black holes more than a billion light years from Earth.
Hear the inside story of this remarkable discovery, widely hailed as the scientific breakthrough of the century, and the amazing technology of the LIGO detectors – capable of measuring tiny distortions less than a million millionth the width of a human hair. Explore the exciting future that lies ahead for gravitational-wave astronomy – from a global network of ground-based interferometers to the emerging plans for spaceborne detectors – as we open an entirely new window on the Universe.
Martin Hendry is Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology in the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow, where he is also Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy. He is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration - an international group of more than 1000 scientists who, with their colleagues in the Virgo Collaboration, in February 2016 reported the historic discovery of gravitational waves.
His principal research interests are in multi-messenger astronomy: developing analysis methods and observing strategies for optimally combining gravitational wave and electromagnetic data. Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Institute of Physics and is also currently Chair of the Institute of Physics in Scotland. He is a passionate enthusiast for communicating science to public audiences of all ages. In 2015 he was awarded the MBE for his services to the public understanding of science.
The lecture will be held at 7.00 pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3DE, by kind permission of the Vice-Chancellor and Governors of the University. IOP members should please mention the IOP as they enter. Please be seated by 6.55pm.
Parking is available after 5.30pm in the Milldam car park, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3AS (£2 pay and display).
The IOP South Central Branch Committee supports two Joint Lectures with the PDPS each year, one in November and one in February. There is no charge to attend the IOP-supported lectures. The other lectures in the PDPS series may also be of interest to IOP members; details of the full PDPS lecture series, together with information about membership of the PDPS, can be found on their Portsmouth University web page at http://www.port.ac.uk/aboutus/newsandevents/events/physsoclectureseries/ .