From Einstein to spacetime

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Gravitational wave astronomy involves people from around the world, all with their our own stories. Dr. Corey Gray, Caltech, is a member of the Siksika Nation (Northern Blackfoot tribe of Alberta) and Scottish. He is the lead operator at the Hanford Observatory of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory. In this hour-long public lecture, Dr. Gray presents a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s been like working at a land-based gravitational wave detector since 1998. He will share a “Top 3” list of his favorite detections as well as the experience of a son having the opportunity to recruit his mother to work with him because of language—the language of spacetime and the Blackfoot people.

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration made big news in 2016 by announcing what has been hailed as “the scientific breakthrough of the century:” the first direct detection of gravitational waves. This was a monumental discovery because it proved a prediction made 100 years earlier by Albert Einstein. LIGO has made many more detections over the years. These detections mark the beginning of a completely new field of science: gravitational wave astronomy.

Dr. Corey received his Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and applied mathematics from Humboldt State University in northern California. After graduation, he was hired as a detector operator by the California Institute of Technology to work for the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington state. As a member of the LIGO team, Corey’s work has included working with groups to help build the gravitational wave detector and also operating the detector as a member of the operator team.

He also enjoys outreach & science communication. Over the years he has given keynotes, plenary talks, public colloquia, conference panel sessions, and also a TEDx talk. His speaking engagements have taken him from Banff to Orlando, Montreal to Honolulu and many points in between. He especially loves to share the science of Einstein with Indigenous youth and other underrepresented groups.

Written by physicsgg

August 31, 2021 at 8:14 am


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