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Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves

Prof. Laura Cadonati, Georgia Institute of Technology


Abstract:  A  new era in astrophysics was inaugurated with the 2015 discovery of gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes in data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).  Since then, LIGO and its sister project Virgo have observed several more gravitational waves from the collision of black holes and neutron stars.  These discoveries have effectively opened a new observational window on the Cosmos, with a rich science potential ranging from astronomy to cosmology to nuclear physics. This talk will present a selection of the  latest results from LIGO and Virgo, summarize what we have learned so far from gravitational waves about black holes, neutron stars and the history of the Universe, and outline future prospects for the exploration of the Universe with gravitational waves.  

About Prof. Laura Cadonati

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Laura Cadonati is a Professor with the School of Physics and the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include gravitational waves and particle astrophysics, with particular focus on the detection, characterization and astrophysical interpretation of short-duration gravitational wave signals that are produced by cataclysmic astrophysical events such as the collisions of black holes or core collapse supernovae.  She is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2002, and a past member of the Borexino solar neutrino Collaboration.  Dr. Cadonati was deputy spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and chair of the LIGO Data Analysis Council.  She received her undergraduate degree in Italy, with a Laurea in Physics at the University of Milano, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University. She has been Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has chaired the Division of Gravity of the American Physical Society,  and was awarded an NSF Career Award.  


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