College of Sciences Calendar
Science Cafe — Gravitational Waves: Ripples in Space-Time
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When US-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) detected ripples in space-time from colliding black holes, it rocked the science world and led to a newly awarded Nobel Prize in Physics. Recent observations of gravitational waves have given astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to probe what happens when two neutron stars collide — revealing signatures of synthesized materials such as gold and platinum and solving a decades-long mystery of where approximately half of all elements heavier than iron are produced. Learn about gravitational waves, why they matter, how we find them, and how they are opening a whole new window to the universe.
About the Speaker
Katie Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales. Throughout her career as a researcher at Caltech, Princeton, Cambridge, Melbourne University, and the Leadership in Public Science faculty cluster at NC State starting in January 2018, she has studied dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe. Katie is also an active science communicator and is passionate about science outreach. As a science writer, she has been published by Slate, Sky & Telescope, Scientific American and other popular publications, and has been a columnist for Cosmos magazine.