General Meeting: Dr. Ethan Siegel: The first detection of gravitational waves

  • OMSI 1945 SE Water Avenue Portland, OR, 97214

Dr. Siegel writes: "One Hundred and one years ago, Einstein completed his theory of General Relativity, which defined the relationship of matter-and-energy to spacetime, and gave us a whole new conception of our Universe. One consequence of that was the existence of a new type of radiation: one that wasn't electromagnetic at all, but rather was inherent to the fabric of space itself, gravitational radiation. In this talk, I'll talk about how Einstein's theory of space was different from everything that came before, I'll present what properties this radiation has, how it arises, how it affects matter and energy, what the different ideas are for detecting it, how LIGO was designed, and what it saw on that now-famous event of September 14th, 2015. Many other aspects, such as the future of gravitational wave astronomy and the hope of probing quantum gravity, will be touched on as well. We'll leave plenty of time for questions, and make sure people leave satisfied."

Dr. Ethan Siegel

Dr. Ethan Siegel

Ethan is a big fan of short biographies. He's also a fan of writing long, glorious, illustrated articles that tell what we know about the Universe and how we know it. He's been writing the blog Starts With A Bang since 2008, currently at Forbes. If you're really into astronomy, he's been writing a monthly column for NASA's The Space Place since 2013, appearing in over 200 astronomy club newsletters worldwide. His very first book, "Beyond the Galaxy," is now available from World Scientific. If you ever wanted to know the entire story of what the Universe is made of, how big it is, where it came from and what it's fate is, told in plain English with no equations, you'll definitely want to get yourself a copy. When he's not writing, Ethan can be found appearing on TV and radio spots, teaching at Lewis & Clark college, working with various science museums and sharing what we know about the Universe with as many people as he can, across the world. His beard and mustache follow him wherever he goes, and he's delighted to be returning to the Rose City Astronomers.

Slides from Dr. Siegel's talk