Annual Women in Physics Public Lecture: "Sounds of Silent: Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves”

On Thursday, December 8, the Physics and Astronomy Department will host the second Annual Women in Physics Public Lecture, to be delivered by Prof. Alessandra Buonanno, Director at Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. The event is made possible by a Fund to Encourage Women grant. 

One hundred years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves on the basis of his theory of General Relativity, LIGO announced the first observation of gravitational waves passing through the Earth emitted by the collision of two black holes one billion three-hundred million light years away. The detection of gravitational waves constitutes a major scientific discovery, as it permits a new kind of observation of the cosmos, quite different from electromagnetic and particle observations.In this lecture Prof. Buonanno will review experimental and theoretical aspects of the quest for gravitational waves, which culminated with the recent discovery by LIGO,  and discuss how those new astronomical messengers can unveil the properties of the most extreme astrophysical objects in the universe.

Alessandra Buonanno is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. Her research focuses on the dynamics of and gravitational-wave emission from coalescing binary black holes, the interface between analytical and numerical relativity, and post-Newtonian theory. She has conducted research to design advanced optical configurations of laser interferometer gravitational-wave detectors operating at and below the standard quantum limit. Buonanno earned her PhD in theoretical physics at the Università di Pisa in Italy in 1996. She was subsequently a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, CERN, and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, before moving on to a professorship at the University of Maryland. Buonanno was a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Radcliffe Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.


For more information on this talk, visit the 'Events' section of this website.