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Departmental Colloquium

Black Holes and Gravitational Waves: The Quest to Verify Einstein's Predictions  
Guest Speaker
Dr. Deirdre Shoemaker  
Guest Affiliation
Georgia Tech, School of Physics  
Guest Affiliation Url  
Loris Magnani  
Thursday, December 1, 2011 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm  

Einstein's theory of General Relativity predicts a Cosmos with black holes and gravitational waves.  Although neither black holes nor gravitational waves have been directly detected, their presence is already felt throughout the Universe. This decade will witness observations  for which gravitational waves are the messengers that deliver information in exquisite detail about astrophysical phenomena, among them the collision of two black holes, a system completely invisible to the eyes of traditional telescopes. In support of this new gravitational wave astronomy, modeling what to expect is crucial for the success of this endeavor. Modeling sources of gravitational radiation requires solving the Eintein equations of General Relativity using the most powerful computer hardware and most sophisticated numerical algorithms. In this talk I will review these challenges, how we have overcome them, and what we have learned along the way. Our predictions of the gravitational waves from the black holes collisions is one crucial step in ushering in the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy.