“Die Nacht, die Wissen schafft” (Science Night) at AEI Hannover

Tracking down gravitational waves

November 06, 2014

Insight in the night: On Saturday, 15 November 2014, Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) will provide an evening of hands-on research during the “Nacht, die Wissen schafft” (Science Night) event. From 6 p.m. to midnight, the nine faculties and other university-related institutions are inviting all those interested to over 180 talks, experiments, guided tours, exhibitions and join-in activities. The Albert Einstein Institute, a close cooperation between the Institute for Gravitational Physics LUH and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, will also be there.

At the Albert Einstein Institute Hannover visitors can look forward to three different programme items during the “Nacht, die Wissen schafft in 2014. From 6 p.m. there will be hourly talks focussing on the research conducted at the Institute. A number of exhibits will enable short experiments to be carried out by visitors themselves, and an exhibition will feature a panorama of scientific images.


Exhibition: Images of science

Atlas at the AEI in Hannover is the worldwide most powerful computercluster dedicated to gravitational-wave data analysis.

Take a look behind the scenes of the world’s biggest institute devoted to gravitational physics. Large format images will provide you with a glimpse into research results, as well as a look at the labs and supercomputers used by the scientists.

6 p.m. to midnight, premises of the AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Experiments: Tracking down Gravitational Waves

Exploring space-time.

Under the motto “Taking Einstein Further”, researchers at the Albert Einstein Institute Hannover are working various aspects of gravitational physics in relation to Einstein’s legacy - gravitational waves. In this exhibition, numerous aspects can be playfully explored and understood in short experiments conduced by the visitors themselves.

6 p.m. to midnight, premises of the AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Talk: Just what is light, anyway?

Laser light is unique.

What exactly is light, a true daily phenomenon? For physicists, light can sometimes be a particle, but sometimes also a wave. But what does it have to do with waves? And what can be done with light, except for simply illuminating a room? Answers to these questions, and to whether light can even make the universe audible are all parts of this talk.

6:15 p.m., seminar room 103 at AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Talk: Quantum cryptography – from paradox to product

Experimental realisation of a squeezed-light source, which is used in the AEI's quantum cryptography experiments.

The absolutely secure encryption of secret and classified information is at the heart of quantum cryptography. The inherent secureness is based on quantum physical laws and for the future provides a real alternative for the encrypted transmission of top-secret data. In this talk, the fundamental principles of quantum cryptography will be clearly explained and illustrated.

7:15 p.m., seminar room 103 at AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Talk: Weighing water and ice with satellites 

GRACE Follow-On is a tandem of two satellites, circling the Earth separated by 220 kilometers in the same orbit 490 kilometers above ground. It measures inter-satellite distances with microwaves (blue) and a new laser interferometer (red).

The distribution of masses on our planet influences gravity on Earth, and is dependent on location and time. With the help of satellites, the melting of ice at the poles and even the sinking groundwater level can be measured. The GRACE Mission has been exploring the Earth’s gravitational field since 2002, but is now almost at the end of its life span. The successor mission GRACE Follow-On, with even more precise measurements anticipated, is currently being worked on with all due speed. The AEI is playing a central role in the development of the necessary technology. 

8:15 p.m., seminar room 103 at AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Talk: Einstein@Home – hands-on astronomy 

Reach out for the stars and discover new radio pulsars with Einstein@Home on your Android device.

Neutron stars are extreme celestial bodies which are born in powerful supernovas. They can be observed across the entire electromagnetic spectrum and are promising sources of gravitational waves. Over 360,000 volunteers from around the globe have already made computer time available on their own computers and smartphones for the shared computing project Einstein@Home, which was developed to a large extent at the Albert Einstein Institute, and have thereby helped with the discovery of over 50 neutron stars.

9:15 p.m., seminar room 103 at AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Talk: eLISA – Gravitational waves astronomy in outer space

The proposed LISA mission will detect gravitational waves in space using a trio of satellites, separated by millions of kilometers. Lasers will be employed to measure the minute changes in their relative distance induced by impinging gravitational waves.

eLISA is a planned laser interferometer which is expected to be launched into space in 2034 and for the development of which we are playing a leading role. eLISA will consist of three satellites located several million kilometres apart whose mutual distance will measure a billionth part of a millimetre. This will enable, for instance, the detection of, among other things, gravitational signals from massive black holes from throughout the entire universe.

10:15 p.m., seminar room 103 at AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38


Talk: Gravitational waves – Einstein’s legacy

The gravitational-wave observatory GEO600 is located in Ruthe near Sarstedt, 20 kilometers south of Hannover. It is a laser interferometer with 600 meter long arms used by AEI scientists to search for the tiny space-time ripples predicted by Albert Einstein.

In 1916 Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity. They bear witness to star explosions, the collision of black holes and even the big bang itself. The experimental detection and analysis of gravitational waves is today one of the greatest challenges facing present-day physics. The AEI is the world’s biggest research institution dealing with all aspects related to this.

11:15 p.m., seminar room 103 at AEI Hannover, Callinstr. 38

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