February 8
Patricia Purdue
Abstract Title: "Reading the Ripples: A New Window on the Universe"
  The observation of gravitational waves (ripples in spacetime) gives us a whole new way of looking at astrophysical phenomena, including black holes, neutron stars, and, perhaps, other more exotic objects. As a result, the new gravitational-wave observatories have the potential to our understanding of the universe. This talk will introduce the field of gravitational-wave research, addressing what gravitational waves are, how they are detected, and what we might learn from them. In addition, some of the other ways that this field is pushing the boundaries of science and technology will be discussed. For example, advanced gravitational-wave detectors are expected to beat the "standard quantum limit" imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.