Leonard E Parker

Center for Gravitation, Cosmology & Astrophysics

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Leonard E Parker Center for Gravitation, Cosmology and Astrophysics

UWM scientists participate in Gravitational Wave Data Analysis Workshop

Posted by Sara Gil Casanova on 2 February 2009

Several professors, postdocs and graduate students of the UWM LIGO Group participated in the recent International Workshop about Gravitational Wave Data Analysis (GWDAW-13). The workshop was held in Puerto Rico during the week of January 18. The main goal of the conference was strengthening the connection between gravitational wave data analysis and traditional observational astrophysics.

"The UWM LIGO group has been a significant contributor to the gravitational-wave research for more than ten years. Right now, we have an outstanding group of postdocs and graduate students working with us. We encourage their participation at these conferences," said UWM Professor Patrick Brady, a member of the GWDAW-13 Scientific Organizing Committee.

Four UWM postdocs gave presentations at the conference. Jessica Clayton and Ruslan Vaulin gave two talks about the search for gravitational waves using data from LIGO and Virgo (a European detector). They are part of a team looking for gravitational-wave signals from pairs of dense objects (black holes or neutron stars) that are spiraling towards each other and that end up merging. The detection of gravitational waves from these astrophysical sources would provide a great deal of information about the populations of black holes and neutron stars in the Universe.

Lisa Goggin talked about the possibility of combining data from searches for different phases of this process to detect the gravitational waves. The two phases studied are the inspiral and the ringdown. During the first one the two objects are spiraling around each other. During the second one, the ringdown, the two objects have just merged and turned themselves into a black hole.

Larry Price gave an invited plenary talk about using radio pulsars to detect gravitational waves and how it compares to searches using data from LIGO instruments. Radio pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that behave as very precise clocks, emitting radio pulses at regular intervals of time. However, the presence of a gravitational-wave background would affect the time of arrival of the radio pulses. The observation of correlated period changes from different pulsars would be strong evidence for gravitational waves. This could provide information about several important astronomical processes, including what happened right after the Big Bang.

During the workshop there was also a visit to the Arecibo Observatory, home of the world's biggest radio telescope. This radio telescope is being used remotely in a UWM Physics Department program that searches for new pulsars—the Arecibo Remote Command Center at UWM. The novelty of this project is that it involves a diverse group of participants, including high school students, undergraduates, postdocs, and teachers. All of them are participating in cutting edge research. Several leaders of this program were at the workshop, UWM Planetarium Director Jean Creighton, Professor Xavier Siemens, Jessica Clayton, and Larry Price.

List of talks and posters:

Noise study estimation using time reverse filtering
Rahul Biswas

Status of the First Search for Gravitational Waves from Compact Binary Coalescences with Joint LIGO-Virgo Data
Jessica Clayton

Arecibo Remote Command Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (ARCC@UWM)
Jean Creighton

Investigation of the viability of a coincidence test based on a comparison of triggers from inspiral and ringdown searches
Lisa Goggin

Optimal Strategies for Detecting Stochastic Backgrounds of Gravitational Waves from Pulsar Timing Data
Larry Price

In Search of Optimal Statistic for Compact Binary Coalescence Analysis Pipeline
Ruslan Vaulin

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