2011-2012 Salpeter Lecturer - Eliot Quataert, UC Berkeley
Joint Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Searching for the Electromagnetic Counterparts to Gravitational Wave Sources
In the next ~ 5 years, ground-based interferometers such as Advanced LIGO are likely to provide the first direct detections of gravitational waves, with the most promising sources being the mergers of two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole. Maximizing the scientific return of this new window into the universe requires connecting gravitational wave detections to the wealth of electromagnetic data on similar sources. In this talk I will describe the motivation for combining electromagnetic and gravitational views of the universe and the physics that determines the electromagnetic counterparts to compact object mergers.