Ecole de Physique des Astroparticules
27 mai - 1 juin 2013

OHP, Saint Michel l'Observatoire

Ondes Gravitationnelles

Probing dynamical spacetime with gravitational waves

Chris Van Den BROECK
  National Institute for Subatomic Physics (NIKHEF)

A world-wide network of advanced gravitational wave detectors is under construction, and regular detections are expected before the end of the decade. Among the most promising sources are coalescing compact binary objects composed of neutron stars and/or black holes. The rich dynamics in these systems will be imprinted onto the gravitational wave signals, which will contain a wealth of information. For the first time, we will have empirical access to the full non-linear dynamics of general relativity, which can not be probed and tested by any other means. Secondly, the neutron star equation of state, which is currently uncertain by an order of magnitude, will be strongly constrained by looking at the deformability of neutron stars during the last stages of inspiral. Third, inspiraling binaries can be used as cosmic distance markers to map out the large-scale structure and evolution of the Universe in a way that is completely independent of existing methods, and which will not suffer from the systematic uncertainties that may be hiding in the so-called cosmic distance ladder. The focus will mainly be on the science that will already be possible with the upcoming second-generation detectors, but the potential of third-generation ground-based observatories, as well as space-based detectors, will also be discussed.
  1. Tests of GR with gravitational wave detectors
    1. Alternative polarization states
    2. Compact binary coalescence and the strong-field dynamics of gravity
  2. Probing the equation of state of neutron stars with second-generation detectors
  3. Cosmology: probing the large-scale structure of spacetime


Second-generation gravitational wave detectors such as Advanced Virgo and LIGO will provide us with unprecedented opportunities to study the strong-field dynamics of spacetime, look inside neutron stars, and probe the evolution of the Universe in a completely novel way. Both the underlying physics and the development of data analysis algorithms to achieve these goals will be explained in an accessible way.
    • "Probing dynamical spacetimes with gravitational waves" Chapter in Springer Handbook of Spacetime, eds. A. Ashtekar and V. Petkov, Springer Verlag, 2013, C. Van Den Broeck (in press)
    • A paper on the determination of the neutron star equation of state with inspiraling binaries will appear on arXiv


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