A Public lecture presented by Professor Mike Cruise (University of Birmingham)
The Universe has been explored by astronomers for over 400 hundred years, mostly using light, radio waves, X-Rays and the Infra-red to give some indication of what objects exist and how hot they are. For nearly one hundred years scientists have also been aware of the possible existence of another form of radiation, Gravity Waves, which, if detected, would tell us about the mass and motion of astronomical objects. Gravity Waves are minute ripples in the geometry of spacetime and were predicted by Einstein but the weakness of these waves has prevented their detection to date.
Large laser facilities in the US are now being upgraded in a new attempt to pick up and analyse the gravity waves emitted by black holes and neutron stars in our Galaxy and beyond. Progress on this challenging experiment will be described and some predictions will be made of the science that may result.
Professor Mike Cruise is Professor Emeritus at the University of Birmingham. He chairs committees on the Physical Sciences at the European Space Agency and is Treasurer of the RAS.