December – Gravitational Waves: The Sirens of the Universe
December 7th, 2017 – 8:00 PM
Speaker: Catherine Woodford
Location: McLennan Physical Laboratories (60 St. George Street, Room MP103, University of Toronto.)
Image Credit: NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet
Get an up-close and personal take on the several Gravitational Waves discoveries that have changed science for the better. With the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015 and the recent observation of a binary neutron star, the LIGO-VIRGO collaboration and partners have broken records in physics, astronomy, and interferometry – with still more to come. We will talk about what went into the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) that discovered the first gravitational wave, GW150914, from theoretical, engineering, and computer simulation viewpoints, plus some of the major discoveries that have accompanied the detections since.
About the Speaker
Catherine is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Physics Department at the University of Toronto, working in the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA). She is a member of the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration, working on binary black hole simulations and gravitational wave analysis. She specializes in analyzing and removing gauge effects from binary black hole simulations and potentially observable frequency relations in these systems. When not researching, Catherine also works for the Dunlap Institute as a planetarium operator, the Abelard High School as a computer science teacher, and is the current vice-president for the Rotaract Club of Toronto. When time permits, she enjoys horror movies and practicing Wing Chun.
The U of T Astronomy Public Tour, or AstroTour, is a monthly event operated by the graduate students of the U of T Astronomy Department. The Tour features a public lecture by a member of the Department on topics ranging from their research to great moments in astronomical history. Following the lecture, tour-goers can peer at the night sky through the Department’s balcony and dome telescopes, or watch a planetarium show run live by astronomer. Admission to the tour is free. Seating for the lecture is on a first-come, first-served basis (doors open ten minutes before the start of the lecture), and the telescope observing is walk-in. The planetarium shows require registration, found at the top of this page.
The AstroTours are generously financed by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.