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When black holes collide - The dawn of gravitational wave astronomy

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Gravitational waves are surviving witnesses of the most violent events in the history of the Universe such as coalescing black hole and neutron star binaries. These extremely violent events are so powerful that they can create ripples in the geometry of spacetime itself, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. So what happens when black holes and neutron stars collide? Can Einstein’s theory explain what we recently saw in our gravitational wave detectors? What can these cosmic messengers tell us about the nature of space, time and gravity, about the properties of matter in the most extreme conditions, about the beginning and the evolution of our Universe?

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

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