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Ripples from the Dark Side of the Universe

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Martin Wood Lecture Theatre

Clarendon Laboratory

Parks Road

Oxford

OX1 3PU

United Kingdom

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On 1st November the Institute of Physics and Oxford University Physics Department will be hosting Prof. James Hough from Glasgow University, who will be talking about his research on gravitational waves.

Refreshments will be served from 18:30 with the talk starting at 19:00.

The talk is free and open to anyone with an interest, but registration is required in advance. Registration for the talk will open on 13th September.

Gravitational waves – a prediction of Einstein’s General Relativity – are still among the most elusive signals from far out in the Universe.

Over the past decade the laser interferometric detectors LIGO (at Hanford and Livingston in the USA), Virgo (at Cascina in Italy) and GEO 600 (at Ruthe in Germany) operated at their design or close to design sensitivity. However, in keeping with source strength predictions and, as expected, no gravitational wave signals were observed.

Now these detectors have been upgraded, and observations with the Advanced LIGO detectors have begun again. In 2016 the first detection of gravitational waves was annouced, emitted from black hole binary systems. This is particularly exciting as the existence of the black hole system was a surprise to the astronomy community!

In this talk I will explain the nature of gravitational waves, why it is scientifically important to observe them, the current state of the field and the highlights of the technology.

Prof. Hough was Director of the University's Institute for Gravitational Research from 2000 to 2009 and is now Associate Director and emeritus holder of the Kelvin Chair of Natural Philosophy. Currently he is a Research Professor in Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and a Visiting Professor in Physics at the University of Strathclyde.

For his wide-ranging research centred on gravitational waves and advisory work he was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours, the Phillips Award of the Institute of Physics in 2015 and Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics in 2016. Following the discovery of gravitational waves he has received and has shared in a number of awards, notably:

  • 2017 Share in Bruno Rossi Prize 2017

  • 2017 Share in RAS Group Achievement Award A 2017

  • 2016 Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year (Awarded to the LIGO Science Collaboration)

  • 2016 Physics World Breakthrough of the Year (Awarded to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration)

For more information please visit his website.

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Date and Time

Location

Martin Wood Lecture Theatre

Clarendon Laboratory

Parks Road

Oxford

OX1 3PU

United Kingdom

View Map

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