NSF Gravity Program PHY 1404395

Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime that carry information about the changing gravitational fields of distant astrophysical objects. Gravitational waves will be a radically new tool for exploring the universe. This award supports the effort to detect gravitational waves from merging neutron stars and black holes with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Black holes and neutron stars are nature’s most compact objects and their collisions are a potentially transformative laboratory for fundamental physics and astrophysics. Gravitational-wave physics offers exciting opportunities to inspire and educate students of all ages, strengthening both the diversity and competitiveness of students and improving the scientific literacy of the general public. The proposed project will continue to drive the development of scientific workflow management tools and high-throughput computing that will have broad impact across the physics community.

This award directly supports Advanced LIGO’s effort to detect gravitational waves and to use gravitational waves as an astronomical tool to explore the Universe. This project focuses on coalescing compact binaries, with the effort dedicated towards developing, testing and using the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) deep, offline search pipeline for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescence. The primary goal of this project is to detect gravitational waves and to extract the astrophysics encoded in LIGO’s signals. Engineering and science runs during the first two years of this proposal will allow the LSC to understand both the Advanced LIGO detectors and the search pipelines in an observational mode. Science runs during the second and third years of this proposal will produce astrophysical results. The first direct detection of gravitational waves could be made during the period of this award.

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