Interview with LIGO Scientist Dr. Matt Evans (6:22): The recent big news in physics was the announcement of the first direct detection of gravitational waves. The detection was made by the LIGO project, which stands for “Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory”. Reports have said that this is a confirmation of general relativity and a new way to view the universe. To help us understand that, and why this is such a significant achievement, we have on the phone Dr. Matthew Evans, an Assistant Professor of Physics at MIT. Dr. Evans is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the chair of the Advanced Interferometer Configurations working group. His research focus is on gravitational wave detector instrumentation, and the fundamental sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors.
And here you can see the signal and hear the “chirp” of a graviational wave!
Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 25:10 — 23.0MB)
Massive stars (start time 6:45) Dr. Emily Levesque is an astronomer who studies big stars, distant stars, exploding stars, and truly weird stars called Thorne–Żytkow objects. All of these topics relate to massive stars – stars that are more than eight time more massive than our Sun. Dr. Levesque is a postdoctoral Hubble fellowship and Einstein fellowship researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received a physics degree from MIT, and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii, which resulted in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific awarding her the Robert J. Trumpler award for outstanding PhD thesis, and this year she was awarded the Annie Jump Cannon award by the American Astronomical Society for her work studying gamma-ray bursts. Dr. Levesque, is here in the studio with us today to talk about her favorite weird astrophysical phenomena and the life of an observational astronomer.
Producer, Engineer, Host: Joel Parker
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 24:45 — 22.7MB)