Kavli Institute For Theoretical Physics Presents The KITP Public Lecture Series
Black Holes and Gravitational Waves -- Was Einstein Right?
sponsored by Friends of KITP
One hundred and two years ago, Einstein published the General
Theory of Relativity. Among its predictions were two — black holes
and gravitational waves — which were so unusual that Einstein himself
struggled with them. Despite much circumstantial evidence gathered
by astronomers, these bizarre deviations from Newton's theory of
gravity had no firm experimental confirmation…
Then, last year, the LIGO experiment announced the direct detection of
gravitational waves from a pair of orbiting black holes. This is one of
the most exciting scientific discoveries of the past fifty years. What are
gravitational waves and how were they detected? How have supercomputers
been used to establish that the waves did, in fact, come from
black holes? And how does this experiment confirm that space and
time are distorted by strong gravity, just as Einstein predicted?