KICP seminar: Tom Callister (Flatiron Institute)

12:00–1:00 pm ERC 401

Tom Callister (Flatiron Institute) "A Gravitational-Wave Tour of the Compact Binary Population"

The detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars (known collectively as “compact binaries”) is now a semi-regular occurrence. The LIGO and Virgo experiments have detected more than 70 such binary mergers, with hundreds more anticipated in the coming years. As we transition from the initial detection era to the “catalog era” of many gravitational-wave events, we are now able to step back and begin to holistically study the population of binary mergers: their distribution of masses, how rapidly they rotate, and how they are spatially distributed throughout the Universe. In this talk, I will illustrate how we go about studying the compact binary population via noisy and uncertain gravitational-wave measurements, and highlight a few methodological advances enabling us to characterize the binary population in increasing detail. Along the way, I will highlight what we do and don’t yet understand about the compact binary population and speculate on valuable directions for future exploration.

Event Type


May 12