High-Precision Gravitational Waves

Coordinators: Alessandra Buonanno, Donal O’Connell, David Kosower, Ira Rothstein, and Aaron Zimmerman

Scientific Advisors: Leor Barack, Zvi Bern and Frans Pretorius

The exciting new era of gravitational-wave observations has just begun. Observations with the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA detectors during this decade, and future observatories in space (such as LISA) and on Earth (the Einstein Telescope and Cosmic Explorer) will require extremely precise theoretical predictions of waveforms. These predictions will enable gravitational waves to teach us about the formation and evolution of black holes of all sizes, and shed light on their astrophysical environment. In combination with gamma, x-ray, optical, and radio observations, precise waveforms will unveil the internal structure and composition of neutron stars. We may also be surprised by new classes of gravitational-wave sources, or deviations from General Relativity in highly dynamical, strong-field regimes. This program will bring together theorists from three different communities: classical General Relativity, effective field theories, and scattering amplitudes, who together can address this challenging task. It seeks to stimulate advances in theoretical ideas and their applications to tools needed for the era of high-precision gravitational-wave astronomy.