The birth of gravitational astronomy

Patrice Hello (Université Paris Sud) — March 10, 2016

One century after the initial theoretical prediction, the first direct observation of gravitational waves has been announced in February the 11th by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations. This is an extraordinary accomplishment after decades of worldwide instrumental efforts. I will first recall the nature of gravitational waves and their effect on matter and then I will review the interesting astrophysical sources for LIGO and Virgo. I will then describe the interferometric detection of gravitational waves and the LIGO-Virgo network. I will finally discuss the details of GW150914, the first gravitational wave signal detected by the LIGO instruments and emitted by a Binary Black Hole merger.

Patrice Hello is Professor at the Paris-Sud University and leader of the Virgo team in the Laboratoire de l’Accélérateur Linéaire at Orsay. He has been member of the Virgo collaboration since the very beginning.

You can also watch this video on the multimedia site ENS : savoirs.ens.fr