The LIGO/Virgo gravitational wave detections of the first binary black hole merger, in 2015, and the first binary neutron star merger, in 2017, opened a new dimension in observational astronomy. They not only further confirmed Einstein's General Theory of Relativity but also validated long-standing theories of gamma-ray bursts and of heavy element creation. Furthermore, they are revealing new populations of black holes and important constraints on neutron star structure and the dense matter equation of state. The number of detections has increased astronomically in the last year: to date, over 50 candidates have been observed, including 6 black hole-neutron star mergers. This talk will summarize what has been learned from these discoveries.
Prof. Lattimer, a Distinguished Professor in the Physics & Astronomy Department of Stony Brook University, is a long-time resident of East Setauket and a former Chairperson of the Earth and Space Sciences Department. He has received Sloan and Guggenheim Fellowships, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and has received their highest award in nuclear astrophysics, the Hans A. Bethe Prize. His outside interests include his children, grandchildren and ferroequinology.