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Dr Laura Nuttall – Colliding Black Holes and Neutron Stars: Detecting Gravitational Waves with LIGO and Virgo
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) consists of two 4-km gravitational-wave detectors in Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA, along with the 3-km Virgo detector near Pisa, Italy. These three detectors use laser interferometry to measure tiny ripples in space-time caused by passing gravitational waves from cataclysmic cosmic sources. To date over fifty gravitational-wave signals have been detected, all from the merger of black holes and neutron stars. These observations are transforming our understanding of our universe. In this talk I will discuss what gravitational waves are, the challenges of detecting them and the exciting astrophysics we have uncovered.
Bio: Laura Nuttall is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and a Reader of Astrophysics at the University of Portsmouth. She has been researching gravitational waves in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for over a decade.
The image shows: A simulation of a neutron star-black hole binary merger consistent with GW200105; image credit: Deborah Ferguson (UT Austin), Bhavesh Khamesra (Georgia Tech), and Karan Jani (Vanderbilt University)