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Monday, October 15, 2018 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Rockefeller Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
General Physics Colloquium and Salpeter Lecture, Prof. Fred Rasio, Northwestern University
Refreshments from 3:30-3:50 pm
Title: The Astrophysics of LIGO Sources
Host: Dong Lai
Abstract: Over the past 3 years the LIGO-Virgo network of gravitational-wave interferometers has detected a number of sources, including several black-hole mergers and one coalescing neutron-star binary. In this talk I will review our current understanding of the astrophysics of these sources, focusing on theoretical models for their various possible formation paths. Our theoretical understanding of compact binary formation remains quite limited, as it involves many fundamental uncertainties in stellar astrophysics. Different models can lead to very different predictions for the expected physical properties of these sources and their distribution across the universe, which will soon be tested directly once the pace of additional detections accelerates (starting early next year).