Summer Research Projects

Seeing the unseeable: Observing black holes with gravitational waves

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration recently made the first direct detection of gravitational waves coming from colliding black holes in the distant Universe. Although these catastrophic collisions are the most energetic in the Universe, they emit little or no light. In this project, we will explore what physics can be learned from gravitational-wave observations of binary black hole mergers.

The biggest explosions in the Universe

The first LIGO detections of gravitational waves have come from colliding black holes. Other sources of gravitational waves expected to be detected in the coming years include colliding neutron stars. When neutron stars collide, they emit large quantities of beamed gamma- and X-ray radiation which are observed as gamma-ray bursts by space-based telescopes. In this project, we will explore the physics of these exotic collisions, in particular trying to understand the physics of the post-merger remnant.