Lisa Barsotti, MIT

Title: "The Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy with LIGO" (Video)

Abstract: On September 14, 2015, the two Advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves from a binary black hole system, opening the era of gravitational wave astronomy. The signal, denoted GW150914, swept in frequency from 35Hz to 250Hz, and had a peak gravitational-wave strain of 10^-21. This event marked the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger. A few months later, in December 2015, a second gravitational wave event from a binary black hole system was detected.

In this talk I will discuss gravitational waves, their sources, and how they can be detected. I will then review the science results from the first Observing Run O1 that ended in January 2016, and summarize the current status of the Advanced LIGO detectors. I will conclude by describing plans and prospects for the future.