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Webinar: From Einstein to LIGO: The History of Gravitational Waves and How it Relates to Black Holes
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About the Event

Dennis Lehmkuhl, Research Assistant Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the Einstein Papers House will present "From Einstein to LIGO: The History of Gravitational Waves and How it Relates to Black Holes

In this talk I shall describe the emergence of the concept of gravitational waves: how they were derived by Einstein between 1916 and 1918; and why Einstein was unsure that such waves actually exist, despite his own derivation. I will then show how Einstein’s work on gravitational waves with Nathan Rosen in the 1940s influenced Hermann Bondi’s, Richard Feynman’s and Felix Pirani’s thoughts on gravitational waves in the 1950s, which in turn influenced Rainer Weiss in his original design of what would become LIGO. Finally, I will give a brief overview of how LIGO detected gravitational waves in 2015, and discuss in what sense this discovery also implies the existence of black holes.


About the Presenter

Dennis Lehmkuhl's work focuses on the history and philosophy of physics, specifically of theories of gravity and spacetime. After undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics and philosophy from Hamburg University, Imperial College London and Oxford University, I was first a postdoctoral fellow and then an assistant professor at the University of Wuppertal in Germany, before becoming Departmental Lecturer in philosophy of physics at Oxford. Since 2015, I am Research Assistant Professor in History and Philosophy of Science at Caltech, and Scientific Editor of the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.


Questions? Contact: : bookclub@alumni.caltech.edu

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