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Stibbs Lecture 2017 on LIGO Gravitational waves: The birth of a new kind of Astronomy



18 February 2017


The Sydney Institute of Astronomy, together with the School of Physics, invites you to a new and engaging talk by David Reitze, executive Director of the LIGO Laboratory, on Tuesday, April 11. As part of 2017 WALTER STIBBS LECTURE series, David Reitze will discusse the ground-breaking discovery of gravitational waves and their profound implications.


Gravitational waves were predicted by the general theory of relativity, developed by Albert Einstein almost 100 years ago. Einstein described them as ripples in the fabric of space time, formed as a consequence of extremely violent, cosmic cataclysms. In the past fifty years, scientists worked to develop new and advanced technologies able to detect these cosmic ripples.


On September 14, 2015, Scientists from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration observed for the very first time, the fusion of the two black holes, by directly measuring the gravitational waves propagated after the cosmic collision.

Gravitational waves reveal insights into the nature of gravity, matter, space, and time. Prof. Reitze will discuss how this discovery promises to change our understanding of the cosmos and why it opens the door for a new and exciting era for Astronomy.

About The speaker

David Reitze holds joint positions as the Executive Director of the LIGO Laboratory at the Caltech and a Professor of Physics at the University of Florida. He has authored 250 publications, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society. He is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration that was awarded the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the 2016 Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize.

The Sound of Two Black Holes Colliding

(Credit: LIGO Lab Caltech: MIT, Source: www.youtube.com)