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Bethe Lecture Series - Public Lecture, Department of Physics

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Rockefeller Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
Central Campus

Bethe Public Lecture, Prof. Saul Teukolsky, Cornell University

Title: Black Holes, Neutron Stars, and Gravitational Waves: Was Einstein Right?


Abstract:  Almost exactly a hundred years ago Einstein published the General Theory of Relativity, which predicted the existence of black holes and gravitational waves.  Despite much circumstantial evidence gathered by astronomers, these bizarre deviations from Newton's theory of gravity have had no firm experimental confirmation until now.

 This year's Nobel Prize in Physics went to the founders of the LIGO experiment for the detection of gravitational waves from a pair of orbiting black holes, verifying Einstein’s predictions.  This is one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the past fifty years.  What are gravitational waves and how were they detected?  How have Cornell researchers used supercomputers to establish that the waves did in fact come from black holes?  How does this experiment confirm that space and time are distorted by strong gravity, just as Einstein predicted?  And why is the recent detection of waves from colliding neutron stars causing such a stir?

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Sue Sullivan

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Professor Saul Teukolsky

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Cornell University

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