Rainer Weiss: Gravitational Wave Astronomy, a New Way to Explore The Universe

November 29, 2016

In February 2016, scientists announced a groundbreaking discovery, the first direct detection of gravitational waves reaching the Earth, using an instrument known as LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). The discovery confirmed a prediction first proposed by Albert Einstein in his 1916 paper on applications of general relativity after his famous paper introducing his new theory of gravity in 1915.

The recent observations of gravitational waves from the cataclysmic merger of binary black holes over a billion light years away from Earth open a new window onto the universe and allow the study of general relativity in the limit of extreme gravitational fields.

For Dr. Rainer Weiss, one of the founders of LIGO, the discovery was 50 years in the making. His own work on the topic began as a classroom exercise in a general relativity course given at MIT in 1967. Dr. Weiss will speak to the UW community about the fascinating history of the gravitational waves proposed by Einstein and of the results of The LIGO Project, as well as a vision for the future of gravitational wave astronomy.

Learn more about this event and the Frontiers of Physics Lecture Series here: https://artsci.washington.edu/content/frontiers-physics-public-lecture-series