DIPC International Physics Colloquia (DIPC)

Thursday 06.06.2019 15:00

Hunt for gravitational waves

Alicia Sintes

University of the Balearic Islands and LIGO

Astrophysics is living a revolutionary epoch: new techniques, instruments and theories are providing for the first time truthful and coherent answers to great questions that humanity has been pursuing for centuries. Gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of space-time – are now the new messengers that will allow us to open a new window onto the cosmos that could revolutionize our understanding of the Universe. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has been making ground-breaking discoveries since the moment it turned on in 2015. Thus far, eleven detections of gravitational waves have been published by the LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaborations: ten from merging black hole systems and one from merging neutron stars. This talk will describe the status of the now-firmly-established field of gravitational wave astronomy, give some highlights of the current discoveries, and describe the role of our group.

About the speaker: Alicia Sintes is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB). She is also a member of the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Secretary of the Institute of Computational Applications of Community Code (IAC3) of the UIB, editor of the scientific journal Astroparticle Physics, and member of the Institut Menorquí d'Estudis. Sintes is the principal investigator of the LIGO scientific collaboration at the UIB, a member of the LIGO board since 2002 and the executive committee of GEO. Hes research focuses on the astronomy of gravitational waves, one of the greatest discoveries of recent years. She obtained her PhD in Physics from the UIB and has been a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany and a scientific advisor to the European Space Agency. Among other prizes, she has recently been awarded the 2017 Ramon Llull Prize of the Government of the Balearic Islands and the Jaume II of the Consell de Mallorca, for her participation in the discovery of gravitational waves.