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Colloquium: Scott Ransom (NRAO)

Apr 15, 2024 - 4:10 PM
to Apr 15, 2024 - 5:10 PM
Graphic of pulsars and gravitational waves

Speaker: Scott Ransom (NRAO)

Host:  Jake Simon

Title: Patience is a virtue:  The 15-year NANOGrav Gravitational Wave Results

Abstract: This past summer, the pulsar timing array community announced
strong evidence for the presence of a stochastic background of nanoHertz
frequency gravitational waves. This has been the primary goal of the community
for the past two decades, and it took thousands of hours of telescope time, over
500,000 pulse arrival times from ~70 millisecond pulsars, and a highly
sophisticated and very computationally demanding analysis effort to accomplish.
While we can't yet say for certain what is causing the gravitational waves, our
best guess is a population of slowly merging super-massive black hole binaries
throughout the universe. But it is possible that the signal also heralds new
physics. So what does it all mean and what are we expecting next? And what other
cool things can we do with all of this high-precision pulsar data?