Bard Campus Calendar

Bard Summer Research Institute presents

From Black Holes to Gravitational Waves and Quantum Measurement

Antonios Kontos, Physics program

Thursday, July 6, 2017

With three detections and counting, the Advanced LIGO gravitational-wave observatories have opened a new window into the Universe. For now, all the detected gravitational-waves originated from collisions of two black holes. The effect that these gravitational-waves have as they pass through space is to stretch and compress space-time, much like sound waves stretch and compress the air. To understand the challenge of detecting this effect here on Earth, imagine (if you can) that a reasonably strong gravitational wave changes the length of one kilometer by one thousandth of a proton's diameter. At this level of sensitivity, quantum mechanics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle start playing a significant role and if we want to listen further into the Universe, we need to manipulate the quantum nature of light to our advantage. In this talk I will give an overview of gravitational waves, how LIGO detects them, and why quantum mechanics matters when measuring distances with such precision.

For more information, call 845-758-7584, or e-mail

Time: 3:00 pm

Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium