BHI Colloquium


Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 1:30pm to 2:30pm


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Adam Pound (Physics) - University of Southampton

Title: Gravitational-wave astronomy and the two-body problem in its small-mass-ratio limit

Abstract: Gravitational-wave detectors have revolutionized our ability to probe gravity in its highly dynamical, strong-field regime. Over the next two decades, next-generation and space-based detectors will provide an expansive empirical picture of the relativistic two-body problem and of the compact objects that make up astrophysical binaries. In this talk, I focus on a particular approach to the two-body problem: gravitational self-force theory, which is used to model binaries in which one body is much larger than the other. Such systems, called extreme-mass-ratio and intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals, will be prime targets for the space-based detector LISA. They offer unique and incredibly precise information about touchstones of general relativity: black holes and the equivalence principle. I also discuss recent results from self-force theory which hint that general relativity's "highly nonlinear" nature is perhaps less nonlinear than one might expect.

Bio: Adam Pound is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and permanent member of staff in the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on classical general relativity and gravitational-wave science, where he has contributed to the theoretical understanding of relativistic motion and binary mechanics. He is a member of the LISA Consortium, a network of about 1400 scientists involved in the LISA mission, and he leads the Consortium's effort to develop theoretical models of extreme-mass-ratio inspirals.

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See also: Physics