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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


Events Calendar

Gravitational Waves: The Discovery that Won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics

Thursday February 15, 2024
6:00 pm

 Presenter:  Lynn Cominsky is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Sonoma State University (SSU), where she has been on the faculty for over 35 years. She is an author on over 225 research papers in refereed journals, and is the founder and director of SSU’s EdEon STEM Learning (formerly known as the Education and Public Outreach Group), which develops educational materials for NASA, NSF and the US Department of Education. In 1993, Prof. Cominsky was named SSU’s Outstanding Professor, and the California Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Current projects include NASA’s Neurodiversity Network (N3), which aims to develop resources and internships for teens on the autism spectrum and the development of an integrated ninth[1]grade CSTEM curriculum, branded as Learning by Making (LbyM), that has been funded by US Department of Education for the past decade.
 Series:  Sigma Xi Public Talk
 Abstract:  In 1915, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. In this theory, gravity is not a force, but a property of space and time in the presence of massive objects. A century later, on September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) received the first confirmed gravitational wave signals. Now known as GW150914, the event represents the coalescence of two distant black holes that were previously in mutual orbit. LIGO's exciting discovery provides direct evidence of what is arguably the last major unconfirmed prediction of Einstein's Theory and has launched the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy. Prof. Lynn Cominsky from Sonoma State University will present an introduction to LIGO, gravitational waves and black holes. She will also discuss the gravitational wave detection results reported from LIGO and Virgo.
 Host:  David Dunlap
 Location:  PAIS-1100, PAIS

Disability Notice If you need an auxiliary aid or service to attend any Department of Physics and Astronomy event, please contact the department (phone: 505 277-2616; email: physics@unm.edu) as far in advance as possible to ensure you are accommodated.