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Invitation To A Talk by Dr. Ian Harry, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Germany

12 April 2018, 02:00 p.m.
Room MAR 0.008, Marchstr. 23, 10587 Berlin
Detecting colliding black holes with gravitational-wave observatories

ABSTRACT: In September 2015, the Advanced LIGO gravitational-wave observatory observed for the first time two black holes colliding. This discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017. Since then the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observatories have continued to observe black hole mergers and observed in August 2017 the merger of two neutron stars. Observing these signals in the data taken by such observatories is a challenging task; the signals are quiet, and the data is non-Gaussian and non-stationary. In this talk we describe the methods that are used to successfully extract such signals from the data. We will describe the signal model that we use and describe techniques that are applied for distinguishing between non-Gaussian transients in the noise and astrophysical signals. We will also discuss how we obtain the "5-sigma" detection confidence that is quoted in the discovery papers.

BIO: Dr. Ian Harry started his career as a PhD student in Cardiff University in the UK, and has worked as a post-doc in Syracuse, NY in the US before coming to work as a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational-Wave Physics in Potsdam Golm. Later this year he will take up a faculty position at Portsmouth University in the UK. During this time he has primarily worked on developing the search techniques that was used in the last few years to successfully observe compact binary mergers, and hold a leadership position within the LIGO and Virgo collaboration to ensure that these searches run correctly. He is also interested in understanding the astrophysical implications of such observations and understanding future capabilities with the next generation of gravitational-wave observatories, and proposed space-based detectors.



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