E-Mail List
Sign up here to be notified of the Café Scientifique schedule.

Past Events and Photos

Watch Video from Past Events
at HanaHaus
at SRI

Other Bay Area Science/
Technology Talks


Kay Brown

Joanna Denison

Peter Bijlsma

Advisory Board

Roger Whiting, Ph.D.

Greg Whiting

Inez Lees

Daniel Zimmer

Café Scientifique
Main UK home page

July 20, 2017

Gravitational Waves From Astronomical Objects: Theory to Observation

A conversation with

Brett Shapiro
Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Registration 5-5:15pm
Welcome & Talk 5:30-6:15pm
Q&A 6:15-6:45pm

Register online here


456 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Open to all – Free of charge

Click here for map and directions

Gravitational Waves From Astronomical Objects: Theory to Observation

Summary: We are now at the dawn of gravitational wave astronomy. On September 14, 2015 at 2:50am PDT, Advanced LIGO made the world’s first direct observation of gravitational waves. These waves emanated from the collision and merger of 2 black holes a billion light years away, each about 30 times the mass of the sun and spinning around each other at half the speed of light. Since then, Advanced LIGO has observed more events like this. This talk will explore the basics of gravitational waves from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and the history of gravitational wave detection from the earliest detectors on Earth to future observatories in space. We will then take a look at the results from first observed black hole mergers. Surprisingly, gravitational waves are a lot like sound waves, so we’ll listen to the sounds of distant black hole collisions. Finally, we’ll take a peak inside the Advanced LIGO observatories to see what’s involved in this new field of astronomy.

About the speaker
Brett Shapiro is a Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University working on the LIGO project. He studies ways to better control the LIGO observatories, and how to improve them with future upgrades. Brett obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2012 doing research on isolating the LIGO mirrors from the vibrating ground. He obtained a B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State in 2005.

Café Scientifique is a place where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The Café provides a forum for debating science issues outside a traditional academic context. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable - all spoken in plain English. There is no admission charge to attend our events. Building on its great success outside the United States, Café Scientifique Silicon Valley is the first such Café on the West Coast.  We meet monthly to discuss a variety of science topics.