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Einstein’s Prediction of Gravitational Waves Confirmed and Visualized

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​Dr. Véronique Petit, Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy

Professor Petit will describe the significance of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics and Astronomy. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 was divided, one-half awarded to Rainer Weiss, the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves." She gave an incredible, well-illustrated talk this Fall at our campus’ Nobel Symposium which we wanted to share with you. In addition to presenting on this pioneering work, she showed images of the recently observed collision of supernova that is the type of event responsible for the formation of huge amounts of heavy elements like gold and platinum.
Background and Research
Dr. Véronique Petit studied Physics at Université Laval in Québec City, Canada. Dr. Petit is interested in the lives of massive stars, which are tens of times more massive than our Sun, especially in the relatively new and rapidly evolving study of these stars’ intriguing magnetic fields. She uses state of the art observations to challenge, constrain, and guide quantitative theoretical models, within the context of large observing programs such as the Magnetism in Massive Star (MiMeS) and the Binarity and Magnetic Interactions in various classes of Stars (BinaMIcS) projects. Her key areas of expertise include optical, ultraviolet, and X-ray spectroscopy, optical spectropolarimetry, polarized radiative transfer, and Bayesian inference.
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