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Quiet Please! The Engineering Challenges of Detecting Gravitational Waves from Space

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oliver Normand.

Gravitational Waves offer a new observing window on the universe. Detecting them requires an extremely quiet laboratory with the capability to measure staggeringly small changes in distance between two measurement points. To date this has been only attempted (& achieved) on the ground with detectors such as LIGO . To extend the type of astronomical targets observable with Gravitational Waves the ambitious LISA mission was conceived. This will move the measurement points into space. LISA will open up the low frequency regime packed with GW sources which are only detectable from space. To improve the chances of success the LISA Pathfinder technology demonstration mission was launched in 2015. This talk will discuss some of the requirements and design challenges that building such a quiet laboratory posed to a spacecraft engineer together with the in-orbit results.

The talk will be at the usual location of the Wolfson lecture theatre in the Department of Chemistry, shown on the map here: https://map.cam.ac.uk/#52.197868,0.125487,19,52.197816,0.125093

Tickets are £2 or free for members. Annual membership (£7) and life membership (£12) can also be purchased at the event – cash or card. The talk will be followed by refreshments outside the lecture theatre.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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