The Art of Doing Science: Merging Neutron Stars

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 5:00pm to 6:00pm

The merging neutron stars of GW170817 sent ripples out through the fabric of spacetime, producing a signal detected by Earth-based gravitational-wave observatories. The stars’ ultimate coalescence then triggered a cosmic explosion whose light was captured by traditional telescopes, making GW170817 the first event ever observed in both light and gravitational radiation. This discovery, which followed decades of preparation by the scientific community, pushed us closer to answering fundamental questions in astrophysics, such as the origin of the Universe’s heaviest elements and nature of exotic, ultra-dense neutron stars.

Featuring Panelists:

Jennifer Barnes Postdoctoral Scholar, KITP

Mansi M. Kasliwal, Professor of Astronomy, Caltech

Leo P. Singer, Research Astrophysicist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

This virtual conversation from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara features a panel of early-career physicists sharing exciting insights about their work, illuminating the many ways science is done and the unexpected detours that inevitably arise on that path to achieving new breakthroughs. This series will serve, over time, to accelerate and expand our understanding of what it means to really ‘do physics’.

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