LIGO observatory recently announced the first ever observation of Gravitational Waves (GW) thus confirming the most spectacular prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GR) about 100 years after the theory was presented. Einstein imagined the empty space (and time) as a dynamical entity, much like a piece of foam, which can be bent, curved and stretched — gravity being viewed as an effect of this curvature. The most dramatic prediction of this idea is the existence of gravitational waves: ripples in empty space itself. These are like tremors occurring in vacuum.
In this talk, starting from simple notions, I will explain what does it mean to curve space and time, how it is related to gravity, what exactly are gravitational waves and how they are detected; all in a language that should be accessible to general public. I will also discuss why this discovery is so important and what new windows it opens in our understanding of the universe that we inhibit as well as technical marvels that were achieved in order to detect them.
Prof. Babar Qureshi is a theoretical physicist who works on a broad range of theoretical ideas ranging from very basic fundamentals including quantum gravity, non-commutative geometry, string theory, non-perturbative aspects of quantum field theory to more applied ones including quantum computation using quantum Hall systems and properties of exotic materials such as topological insulators.
He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Syracuse University in Dec. 2007 and then worked as Govt. of Ireland IRCSET Postdoctoral Fellow before joining the Department of Physics at LUMS. He has also spend extended times as visiting scientist at Perimeter Institute, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, CERN and UNAM.