Alessandra Buonanno (Potsdam): Illuminating the Dark Universe with Gravitational Waves

Montag, 22. Mai 2023 13:30

Ort: Lise-Meitner-Hörsaal, Strudlhofgasse 4, 1090 Wien

Vortrag im Rahmen des University of Vienna Physics Colloquiums

For centuries, we have explored the Universe and discovered mysterious astrophysical sources and phenomena only through the observation of electromagnetic waves (gamma rays, X-rays, optical, infrared, radio waves). In 2015, we observed the first gravitational wave passing through the Earth produced by the merger of two stellar-mass black holes. Such an event has provided us with a remarkable confirmation of the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein, and ushered in the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. Since then, about one hundred gravitational waves have been detected, including the gravitational signal produced by the coalescence of two neutron stars, accompanied by a plethora of electromagnetic counterparts observed by numerous telescopes around the world.

In this talk I will describe how we decode the gravitational signals to trace the nature of the astrophysical source that emitted them, and discuss how the novel astronomical messengers are already unveiling distinctive properties of the most extreme astrophysical objects in the Universe: black holes and neutron stars. I will also highlight the bright future of gravitational-wave astronomy due to ever more sensitive detectors on the ground and in space, which will open new frequency bandwidths.

A light lunch buffet will be offered before the lecture at around 13:00.


Lise-Meitner-Hörsaal, Strudlhofgasse 4, 1. Stock

Alessandra Buonanno (© Markus Scholz for the Leopoldina)