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UWM LIGO Scientific Collaboration Research Group


June 15, 2016

GW151226: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence

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February 18, 2016

The Right Place At The Right Spacetime

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February 11, 2016

Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

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Research Projects

Burst Searches

Gravitational waves are generated by the bulk motion of high density matter. There are many violent phenomena in the universe which may produce burst of gravitational waves that depend on complicated physics of the sources. Among the sources are supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, cosmic string cusps, etc.

Jolien Creighton is the lead internal reviewer for the LSC burst analyses.

Compact Binaries

The inspiral and merger of a compact binary system generates gravitational waves which sweep upward in frequency and amplitude through the sensitive band of the Earth-based detectors. The detection of gravitational waves from these astrophysical sources will provide a great deal of information about strong field gravity, dense matter, and the populations of neutron stars and black holes in the Universe. Patrick Brady co-chairs the inspiral analysis group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. This working group's goal is to identify gravitational-wave signals from compact binary sources in the detector data, and estimate the waveform parameters. To date, no gravitational waves have been identified from these sources, so the scientific product of the group is to place limits on the coalescence rate of binaries in the Universe. When wave are detected, it will be possible to infer information about the binary populations, and possibly probe the disruption of neutron stars, test alternative theories of gravity, and bound the mass of the graviton. These are just some of the ideas for gravitational-wave astronomy and physics with these sources.

Continuous Wave Sources

Maria Alessandra Papa co-chairs the pulsar group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. This working group's goal is to identify gravitational-wave signals which last for long times relative to the observing time. The archtypical gravitational-wave source is a rapidly rotating neutron star. These objects are already observed using radio telescopes, but the gravitational waves carry a host of new information about the structure of the neutron stars. Moreover, not all rapidly rotating neutron stars will be pulsars. This means that gravitational waves provides an new way to find these objects in our Galaxy. Since the search methods are not tied particularly to pulsars, there may be unexpected sources which continuously emit gravitational waves.

Cluster Computing

Commodity cluster computing has become a standard method of achieving high performance at low cost. Bruce Allen built the first Beowulf cluster at UWM in 1998 with the help of (then postdoc) Warren Anderson. In 2001, the group added a 300-node state of the art cluster (Medusa) designed for fast-turnaround and prototyping data analysis. This cluster served as a pathfinder in the LSC deploying Condor and distributing data across the cluster using cheap commodity hard disks to achieve 24 Tbytes of storage. In 2004, the group was awarded a National Science Foundation award to build a new cluster called Nemo, deployed in 2006.

UWM Ligo Scientific Collaboration | http://www.lsc-group.phys.uwm.edu/ | contact@gravity.phys.uwm.edu