Gabriela González, Louisiana State University

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Mike Lazaridis Theatre of Ideas Wed, Oct 23 7:00 PM


PI Public Lecture Series:

Title: Music of the Universe: Einstein’s gravitational waves


Albert Einstein predicted a century ago the existence of gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of spacetime moving at the speed of light. It was believed that these ripples were so faint that no experiment would ever be precise enough to detect them. But in September 2015, LIGO did exactly that. The teams working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in Louisiana and Washington measured a loud gravitational wave signal as it traveled through the Earth after a billion-year journey from the violent merger of two black holes.

Since that first detection, scientists have measured many more gravitational waves, including a signal produced by colliding neutron stars captured by LIGO and the Virgo detector in Europe in 2017. That cataclysm also generated electromagnetic waves - light - detected by numerous other telescopes, and helped scientists understand how gold is created in deep space.

In a special public lecture webcast at Perimeter Institute on October 23, 2019, Gabriela González will provide a first-hand account of LIGO’s century-in-the-making breakthrough, and explain observations made as recently as this year. González, a professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University and former spokesperson of the LIGO collaboration, will take the audience on a journey to some of the universe’s most violent places, and explain how such distant events can lead to a very bright future here on Earth.

Attendance to the lecture is free, but advance tickets are required. Our lectures consistently sell out. As a courtesy to our waiting list guests your ticket will be honoured until 6:45 PM only. If you have not arrived by 6:45 PM your reservation will be filled by another guest, and you will be asked to join the end of the waiting line.

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Doors open at 5:30 PM

Pre-Lecture Activities (tickets not required):

Black Hole Bistro - dinner and/or drinks:

RESERVATIONS ARE required for food service in the Black Hole Bistro and can be made at Dinner reservations will be scheduled between 5:00 pm - 6:00 PM for those with tickets and later for those watching the lecture in the Bistro.

Ask a Scientist?

Perimeter scientists will be on hand to answer physics questions from 5:30 pm - 6:30 PM.

There will be a waiting line for last minute cancelled (or ‘no show’) seats on the night of the lecture. Doors open at 5:30 PM. Come to Perimeter and pick-up a waiting line chit at the Waiting Line sign and then participate in pre-lecture activities - no need to wait in line. An announcement will be made in the Bistro at 6:45 PM if theatre seats are available. Note: you must arrive in person to be part of the waiting line and be in the Bistro when the waiting line announcement is made.

Everyone who comes to Perimeter will be able to participate in the lecture. The public lecture will be shown simultaneously on closed circuit television in the quiet of the Time Room or the licensed comfort of the Black Hole Bistro for any members of the waiting line who are not able to get a theatre seat.


For most lectures the on-demand playback will be online within 24 hours after the live event. Check our YouTube page for the playbacks.