03 Dec

Upper Sixth Lecture Series: Gravitational Waves

On Wednesday 28th November, Professor Alberto Vecchio, from the University of Birmingham, delivered a stimulating talk to the Upper Sixth on gravitational waves. For girls studying Physics as an A Level, the talk developed their existing learning, but Professor Vecchio was able to make the subject accessible to the whole group with his light-hearted account of a very big and often confusing subject! Professor Vecchio highlighted the need for a basic understanding of physics in all areas of life, especially for policy makers. He noted that whilst his work is on a topic that has been considered dull and scientifically impossible for many years, there have been a number of major breakthroughs recently. Moving from Einstein’s theory of gravitational relativity, Professor Vecchio explained how gravitational waves work as a channel of communication in the universe and demonstrated this with an experiment using lasers. To finish his talk, Professor Vecchio analysed some of the data that he was involved in collecting at LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) which was the final test of Einstein’s theory and a major milestone for scientists working on gravitational waves. Many thanks to Professor Vecchio for giving up his time so generously.