Friday 24th October 7.30pm At Mills Observatory
Stuart Reid (University of Glasgow) "Searching for signals from the dark side of the Universe"
Observing gravitational waves will open up an entirely new field in Astronomy, providing information unobtainable any other way. Einstein proposed that gravity can be represented geometrically as the distortion of the fabric of space-and-time by massive objects, like a weight distorts a rubber sheet. Motions of the largest and most violent astrophysical objects, such as black holes and supernovae, create “ripples" in space-time - gravitational waves - like ripples on a pond. However, these signals are very small, so building detectors of high enough sensitivity is currently one of the most significant challenges faced by experimental physicists. This talk will outline the experimental effort in developing instrumentation for future gravitational wave observatories, to enable the observation of gravitational waves from far out in our Universe. In addition, a very short description of two spin-offs with biomedical applications will also be described.
In Ken's brief introduction to Stuart he said that the subject was new to him and he was extremely enthusiastic, and eager to learn all about it.
Stuart described the experimental methods used in attempting to detect and measure gravitational waves, with somewhat humerous references (and movies) from both Star Trek and Dr. Who. This, with very easy to understand graphics, made for a fascinating and enjoyable talk.
Thanks to Stuart for another excellent talk.
Photos courtesy of Fox Banks Media