Black Hole Collisions: The Extreme Side of Gravity

  • Speaker
  • Frans Pretorius, Ph.D.Professor of Physics; Director, Princeton Gravity Initiative, Princeton University
Date & Time

About Simons Foundation Lectures

Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
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The LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors have ushered in a new era of gravitational-wave astronomy. The majority of the signals observed to date are consistent with gravitational waves emitted by the collision of two black holes, one of the most extreme spacetime events predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

In this lecture, Frans Pretorius will discuss the basics of black holes in general relativity and what happens when black holes collide. He will then explain how properties of colliding black holes can be inferred from the signals measured by LIGO and Virgo.

About the Speaker

Pretorius is a professor of physics at Princeton University and director of the new Princeton Gravity Initiative. His primary field of research is general relativity, specializing in numerical solution of the field equations. His work has included studies of gravitational collapse, black hole mergers, cosmic singularities, higher dimensional gravity, models of black hole evaporation, and using gravitational wave observations to test the dynamical, strong-field regime of general relativity. Honors for his research include the Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics of the American Physical Society, the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, and the New Horizons Prize in Physics.


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