The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017: LIGO and gravitational waves


Nobel Prize 2017 colloquium
Professors Warwick Bowen and Tamara Davis, UQ
The colloquium will be held 12 noon, 20th October, in Parnell 07-222
Morning tea from 11am in Alumni Court

Rarely has a physics discovery been more eagerly anticipated than the detection of gravitational waves. On September 14th, 2015, the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected the coalescence of two black holes for the first time. More detections followed, spectacularly confirming the existence of gravitational waves predicted almost a full century earlier in 1916 by Albert Einstein.
These detections were enabled by fifty years of advances in measurement science and engineering, providing the ability to resolve gravitational wave-induced length differences between the 4km interferometer arms with precision of less than 1/1000th of the effective diameter of a proton. This year the Nobel Prize Committee is recognising this achievement by awarding some of the initiators of the LIGO experiment the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Come hear from UQ’s Warwick Bowen and Tamara Davis about the details of the Nobel winning science — how the measurement challenges were overcome, and what gravitational waves can teach us about black holes and fundamental physics.