University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Refreshments in PHY 151 starting at 3:30 pm
This December the Nobel prize will be awarded for the direct detection of gravitational waves two years ago. This capped off a century of controversy over their existence, ranging from questions about their nature, tantalizing clues of their influence, and dubious claims of detection. The gravitational waves observed by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in October, 2015, recorded the death throws of two black holes. In doing so, they have provided critical verification of dynamical elements of Einstein's general relativity and have unlocked a new window on the very massive and very compact. I will review the history of gravitational waves, describe the extraordinary technological feat required to detect their subtle signatures, the implications of the five LIGO detections thus far, and the bright future of gravitational wave astronomy for understanding the dark universe.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.