CENTRA is organizing a workshop on gravitational-wave physics, at Stony Brook, December 12-16 2016.
The recent but historical detection of gravitational waves by LIGO marks the dawn of the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. What were the ingredients and demands for detection? What have we learned, and what can we learn from this and future observations? This workshop will address these issues, by bringing together experts in different fields, from data-analysis to numerical relativity and theorists.
Gravitational-wave science is now a truly interdisciplinary topic. Typical searches for gravitational waves require accurate templates for the signal, which in turn require state-of-the-art numerical and analytical modelling. Understanding how these searches and modelling are done is essential for an understanding of the limits of the searches, and what one can infer from them.
The first direct detection of gravitational waves is also, most likely, the first direct observation of black holes in Nature, as well as a first observation of merging black holes. In addition, it marks the first astronomical measure of the mass and spin of black holes. The number of black hole binaries merging within the range of detectors is tied to the entire history of the universe itself. What have we learned from these first observations and how many sources do we expect for future detectors?
At a fundamental level, gravitational waves carry information about an hitherto unknown territory: strong-field, dynamical gravity. This is a unique opportunity to learn about new physics. What is the evidence for the existence of event horizons and ergoregions? Are there new radiation channels that become important at strong gravitational potentials?
This workshop will be a unique opportunity to discuss these issues in an informal setting, with ample time for discussions with some of the main actors in their fields.