About this event:
Join us for a SPACE lecture featuring Dr. Shami Chatterjee, Senior Research Associate, Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science and the Carl Sagan Institute
Galaxies grew in the early universe by merging with each other, and as they coalesced, the supermassive black holes at their hearts merged with each other, too. Einstein's theory of general relativity predicts the existence of gravitational waves—the stretching and squeezing of space itself—as such black hole mergers take place. We have recently detected these ripples from the mergers of stellar black holes, but the mergers of supermassive black holes produce ripples with much longer wavelengths, requiring a galaxy-scale detector to observe them.
Dr. Chatterjee will describe how we are using rapidly spinning neutron stars as clocks to build such a long-wavelength gravitational wave detector, how the searches for these neutron stars have turned up fast radio bursts, and how these mysterious radio flashes from distant galaxies are teaching us more about the universe we live in.
This program is presented in conjunction with the Adult Summer Reading Program