Lecture - Physics Department

Helen and Morton Sternheim Lecture

Joseph Taylor, Princeton University

Tuesday, October 10, 2017: 4:00pm
Hasbrouck 20

Refreshments at 3:45 pm

Published in 1915, Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity appeared to imply the existence of gravitational waves: an entirely new form of energy and radiation.  However, physical reality of these implied waves was doubted by many, including Einstein himself, for well over half a century.

A 1974 discovery made in the UMass Department of Physics and Astronomy, together with more detailed follow-up measurements extending over many years, has laid all such doubts to rest.  Moreover, it provided persuasive justification for funding what became a successful billion-dollar experiment to detect gravitational waves directly.

The century-long effort to better understand some of Nature's most fundamental laws makes a fascinating and entertaining story.  It is a superb example of the scientific method at work -- warts, blind alleys, and all.

This lecture is intended for a general audience: no pre-requisites required, beyond an interest in Nature's truths!

Event Contact

Donald Candela

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Sternheim Lecture by Joseph Taylor