Testing General Relativity with Gravitational Waves
This year marks the centenary of a pivotal breakthrough: the confirmation that gravity can be described as spacetime curvature. Among the most outrageous predictions of the theory are the existence of black holes and gravitational waves.
Gravitational waves offer a unique glimpse into the unseen universe in different ways, and allow us to test the basic tenets of General Relativity, some of which have been taken for granted without observations: are gravitons massless? Are black holes the simplest possible macroscopic objects? do event horizons and black holes really exist, or is their formation halted by some as-yet unknown mechanism? Do singularities arise in our universe as the outcome of violent collisions? Can gravitational waves carry information about the nature of the elusive dark matter?
In this talk, I will describe the science encoded in a gravitational wave signal and what the upcoming years might have in store regarding fundamental physics and gravitational waves