Bard Events Calendar

Bard Summer Research Institute Presents

Thursday, July 6, 2017

From Black Holes to Gravitational Waves and Quantum Measurement

Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
3:00 pm

Antonios Kontos, Physics program

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