Refreshments will be served from 18:30 with the talk starting at 19:00.
Gravitational waves – a prediction of Einstein's General Relativity – are still among the most elusive signals from far out in the Universe.
Over the past decade the laser interferometric detectors LIGO (at Hanford and Livingston in the USA), Virgo (at Cascina in Italy) and GEO 600 (at Ruthe in Germany) operated at their design or close to design sensitivity. However, in keeping with source strength predictions and, as expected, no gravitational wave signals were observed.
Now these detectors have been upgraded, and observations with the Advanced LIGO detectors have begun again. In 2016 the first detection of gravitational waves was announced, emitted from black hole binary systems. This is particularly exciting as the existence of the black hole system was a surprise to the astronomy community!
In this talk Prof. Hough will explain the nature of gravitational waves, why it is scientifically important to observe them, the current state of the field and the highlights of the technology.