Gravitational-Wave Astronomy with LIGO: Opening a New Window on the Universe
The vast majority of our astronomical knowledge comes from light. Gravitational waves present a new and fundamentally different spectrum in which to view the universe. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and its international partners seek to directly observe gravitational waves from astronomical systems such as compact binary systems of neutron stars and black holes, supernovae, and the Big Bang. The LIGO detectors have completed six science runs and are currently in the midst of a major upgrade called Advanced LIGO. I will describe the LIGO instruments, present results from the latest searches for gravitational waves, and describe the prospects for detection and the future arc of the field.
Joshua Smith is an Assistant Professor of Physics and directs the Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center at California State University Fullerton. He joined the physics faculty at CSUF in January 2010. Prior to that he was a postdoctoral research associate at Syracuse University in central New York. He graduated from the University of Hannover (Germany) with a PhD in Physics in 2006 for research at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics / Albert Einstein Institute in the field of gravitational-wave detection.
As a faculty member, Joshua is active in both teaching and experimental research. He has taught several courses, but currently teaches introduction to astronomy. His research is focused on gravitational-wave astronomy with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). He and his group are members of the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
Smith was born in Indian Lake, a small town in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. He is married to Felicitas Smith.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Jim Benet