Friends of the RAS Only Lecture: Gravitational Waves: Discovery and Implications

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In February this year it was announced that gravitational waves had, at long last, been detected. Predicted 100 years ago and searched for over a period of 40 years, this announcement marked a technological triumph of huge proportions. The talk will outline what gravitational waves are, how they are detected and what implications the new data have for astronomy.
Mike Cruise studied at University College London for his BSc and PhD and has been active in space astronomy for over three decades. He moved to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 1986 and became Associate Director for Space Science and then moved to the University of Birmingham in 1995. He has represented the UK at the European Space Agency and is currently the Chairman of the UK Space Agency Science Programme Advisory Committee.
His PhD thesis involved the development of novel imaging devices and led to the first synthetic aperture design at X-Ray wavelengths. For over two decades he has been interested in gravitational wave detection from space and ground based facilities and is a member of the LIGO consortium and the LISA International Science Team. His group at Birmingham was involved in the discovery of Gravitational Waves announced in February 2016 and built the Phasemeter electronics for LISA Pathfinder. For the past fifteen years he has been interested in gravitational-electromagnetic interactions and has designed detectors operating at GHz and Optical frequency bands as well as at lower frequencies. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception in the RAS Library.