What’s new in gravitational wave astronomy? Tomasz Bulik (University of Warsaw)

Gravitational wave astronomy is a new field that has already flourished with many discoveries.

The last LIGO-VIRGO observation run called O3 has ended a bit earlier than anticipated due to the pandemic situation, however it has brought about a year of data with unprecedented sensitivity.

The observations during the previous runs O1 and O2 brought discoveries of coalescences of binary black holes and binary neutron stars.

Masses of the binary black holes discovered in those runs appear to be larger than the one discovered through X-ray observations.

In the case of the observation of coalescence of a binary neutron star the gravitational wave burst was followed by a gamma ray burst and then by a long afterglow in other electromagnetic wave bands. These observations allowed to verify predictions of General Theory of Relativity in the regime of strong gravitational fields, and to measure the speed of gravitational waves.

In my lecture I will review the O3 results. I will describe new detections and talk about upper limits imposed by the observations, as well as their consequences for physics ad astrophysics.

Tomasz Bulik is a professor at the Astronoical Observatory of the University of Warsaw and at the Astrocent Intentional Research Agenda.

He graduated in the Faculty of Physics of the university of Warsaw in 1988, and later obtained his PhD at the Pennsylvania State University in 1993. He continued his work at the University of Chicago. IN 1996 he moved to the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Science. He works at the University of Warsaw since 2005. He is a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Science.

He has worked on various topics on theoretical astrophysics such as X-ray sources, physics of strong magnetic fields, gamma ray bursts and structure of neutron stars.

He initiated the work on populatin of gravitational wave sources and gravitational wave astronomy.

This work done together with prof Belczynski led to predicting that the most common gravitational wave sources are binary black hole coalescences which was conformed by LIGO and VIRGO observations.

Prof Bulik is a member of the Virgo collaboration and he took part in the discovery of gravitational waves.

Additionally prof Bulik took part in high energy gamma ray observations with the HESS telescope in Namibia. He was the coordinator of the site search and characterizations team for the Cherenkov telescope Array.

Currently he is involved in preparation for construction of the Einstein Telescope – the next generation gravitational wave observatory.

October 17, 2020 at 9:15am

Auditorium of Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw


Photos by , C. Heinze, NASA Ames Research Center, the LIGO Laboratory