On Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, the Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) detectors in the USA and GEO600 near Hannover, Germany, officially began their second observation run “O2”. Researchers of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute; AEI) in Hannover and Potsdam have continued to improve the data-analysis tools, the source modeling, and the detector technology. They are leading partners in the international gravitational physics community and expect further signals to be detected in O2.
November 1, 2016, 04:30 - 07:30 p.m. University of Maryland Prof. Buonanno at a panel discussion about the detection of gravitational waves honoring the University of Maryland pioneers and the dawn of gravitational wave astronomy.
On December 26, 2015 the LIGO instruments detected a second gravitational wave. The observed signal originated from a pair of merging black holes of about 14 and 8 solar masses – smaller than the ones detected on September 14, 2015. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam and Hannover and the Leibniz Universität Hannover have contributed to the discovery in several key areas: the development of highly accurate gravitational-wave models, searches to detect faint signals, assessment of their statistical significance, determining their astrophysical parameters, and advanced detector technology.
Starting from the winter semester 2016-2017, the University of Potsdam will offer an Astrophysics master programme. The Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics significantly contribute to this new curriculum.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam develop an accurate model for the detection and interpretation of gravitational waves emitted by neutron stars in binary systems. This model contains, for the first time, a realistic description of how neutron stars are deformed just before they collide.
Selection Committee of previous Breakthrough Prize winners recognizes contributors to experiment recording waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away. $3 million prize shared between LIGO founders Ronald W. P. Drever, Kip S. Thorne and Rainer Weiss and 1012 contributors to the discovery.
On March 18, 2016, Harald Pfeiffer, Associate Professor at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Physics, Toronto, will be honoured with a Bessel Award of the Humboldt Foundation. The award will allow him to stay at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Potsdam where he will work closely with Prof. Buonanno’s division on the prediction of the gravitational waves that are generated when black holes collide.
For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.[more]