Physics and Astronomy
Department Chair:
Stephen FitzGerald

Administrative Assistant:
Diane Doman

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8330
Fax: (440) 775-6379

Wright Laboratory of Physics
110 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series

Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series



15 (Thursday) 4:35 pm

Speaker:  Rob Owen, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Oberlin College
Title: The Detection of Gravitational Waves and the Modeling of their Sources
Abstract:  Over the last year, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has made two direct detections of gravitational waves, propagating ripples in the geometrical structure of spacetime itself, produced in these cases by collisions of pairs of stellar-mass black holes. This phenomenon has been anticipated for just over a century, as a consequence of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, but a phenomenal effort of experimental and theoretical physics has been required to bring it to fruition. In this talk, I will review the concept of gravitational waves, the basic structure of the LIGO experiment, the significance of its results, and the work that I and my collaborators do to model the sources of these waves theoretically. In particular, I will describe aspects of my ongoing research effort: developing techniques to define and calculate the energy, momentum, and angular momentum of empty space.
Location:  Wright 201


25 (Tuesday) 4:35 pm

Speaker:  Chiara Mingarelli, Marie Curie Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Title: The Gravitational-Wave Universe Seen By Pulsar Timing Arrays
Abstract:  Galaxy mergers are a standard aspect of galaxy formation and evolution, and most (likely all) large galaxies contain supermassive black holes.  As part of the merging process, the supermassive black holes should in-spiral together and eventually merge, generating a background of gravitational radiation in the nanohertz to microhertz regime.  An array of precisely timed pulsars spread across the sky can form a galactic-scale gravitational wave detector in the nanohertz band. Mingarelli will describe the current efforts to develop and extend the pulsar timing array concept, together with recent limits which have emerged from North American and international efforts to constrain astrophysical phenomena at the heart of supermassive black hole mergers.
Location:  Wright 201


10 (Thursday) 4:35 pm

Speaker: Carlos Castro, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Ohio State University
Title: TBA
Abstract:  TBA
Location:  Wright 201


1 (Thursday) 4:35 pm

Speaker:  Matt Elrod, Biggs Professor of Natural Science, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Oberlin College
Title: TBA
Abstract:  TBA
Location:  Wright 201

Department of Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series speakers from past years.