Black-Hole Binaries: Observing, Visualizing, and Understanding Strongly Curved, Dynamical Spacetime

Start: 02/16/2011 - 4:15pm
End  : 02/16/2011 - 5:00pm


David Nichols (CMC ’06/Theoretical Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology/W.M. Keck Science Center, Claremont Colleges)


In this talk, I will discuss black-hole binaries in Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
I will explain how one might observe a black-hole binary through its gravitational waves with
a detector like the Laser Interferometer Graviational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Detection
of gravitational waves requires accurate models of these waves, and I will also talk about how
one can compute them using analytical and numerical methods. The gravitational waves
are only a small piece of the full curvature of spactime in the numerical calculations of
black-hole binaries. I will conclude by describing recent efforts to understand and visualize
the curvature in the spacetime of black-hole binaries.

Roberts North 15, Claremont McKenna College