This week, the students of the Astronomy elective took part in a talk about gravitational waves with Professor Rainer Weiss (MIT).
Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime that are generated in certain gravitational interactions and propagate as waves outward from their source at the speed of light. The first detection of gravitational waves was made in September 2015 with the measurement of the coalescence of two ~30 solar mass black holes at a distance of about 1 billion light years from Earth.
Professor Weiss presented a review of recent measurements of black hole events and the first detection of the coalescence of two neutron stars. The event was organised by IST Austria.
Rainer Weiss was born Sept 29,1932, in Berlin, Germany. He received his PhD in 1962 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a member of the MIT Physics faculty from 1964-2001 and he received the title of professor emeritus in 2001. His primary areas of research are atomic clocks, cosmic background radiation measurements and gravitational wave detection.
In 2017 Rainer Weiss was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Barry Barish and Kip Thorn “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.