LIGO Document G1201067-v1

Searching for Gravitational Waves

Document #:
LIGO-G1201067-v1
Document type:
G - Presentations (eg Graphics)
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Abstract:
Gravitational waves are ripples in the geometry of space and time which propagate at the speed of light, predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Ground-based gravitational wave detectors like LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) are likely to make the first direct detection of these waves before the end of the decade. I describe the efforts to detect gravitational waves from sources including: the orbital decay of binary systems of compact objects (black holes or neutron stars), "lumpy" pulsars or other rapidly rotating neutron stars, and a random background of gravitational waves left over from the big bang. I summarize the results to date from analysis of data from the initial configurations of LIGO and other detectors, and describe the prospects for gravitational wave detection with detectors such as advanced LIGO which will begin operation in the coming years.
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  • slides (whelan20120922_anim.pdf, 5.1 MB)
  • slides (whelan20121008_anim.pdf, 5.5 MB)
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Publication Information:
Colloquium given 2012 October 8 at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

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