CfA Colloquium Schedule Fall 2004
 28 October 2004

28 October 2004

Speaker: Scott A. Hughes (MIT)

Title: Gravitational Waves: A Tool for Studying Black Hole Physics

Abstract: The first generation of sensitive interferometric gravitational-wave (GW) detectors have begun operations. Although they do not yet have the sensitivity at which they are likely to be interesting for astrophysics, they mark the start of an enterprise that, with continued effort, should make GWs a standard tool of observational astrophysics. Black holes are some of the most important and interesting GW sources, promising future detailed studies of strong gravity and compact body populations. In this talk, I will present an overview of GWs and GW detection. I will then focus upon black holes as sources of GWs, describing how GW observations can probe their astrophysical nature and the strong field nature of their spacetimes. I will show that the planned space-based GW detector LISA will be a particularly powerful probe, making possible precision measurements of the nature of black hole spacetimes and enabling studies of their formation and growth from early cosmic epochs.

Video of the Presentation (Talks can be viewed with RealPlayer. Free download is available from )

References for students:

  1. New physics and astronomy with the new gravitational-wave observatories, by Scott A. Hughes, Szabolcs Marka, Peter L. Bender, and Craig J. Hogan. (Ref: Proceedings of the APS / DPF / DPB Summer Study on the Future of Particle Physics (Snowmass 2001), edited by R. Davidson and C. Quigg, eConf C010630 (2001) P402; astro-ph/0110349.)
  2. Listening to the universe with gravitational-wave astronomy, by Scott A. Hughes. (Ref: Annals of Physics 303, 142 (2003); astro-ph/0210481.)


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