"Searching for gravitational waves from merging neutron stars and black holes", department colloquium January 25, 2012, 10-11am

Chad Hanna, Perimeter Institute

We are entering a new era of experimental gravitational wave physics that should result in the direct detection of gravitational waves later this decade.  The global network of laser interferometer gravitational wave detectors including LIGO and Virgo is currently being upgraded to obtain unprecedented sensitivity.  It is likely that the first gravitational wave detections will come from merging compact binary systems consisting of neutron stars or black holes.  I will give an overview of searches for merging compact binaries and describe what to expect in the next few years.  I will emphasize the effort to integrate the gravitational wave astronomy community into the broader time domain astronomy community.  We hope that joint work between these communities will help to answer questions about the Universe's most interesting transient phenomena such as short gamma ray bursts.