Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Laura and Nicola are Masters!

This week, my first two master students, Nicola Franchini and Laura Sberna, have defended their theses, and obtained a master degree (MSc in Astrophysics and in Physics, respectively) at Sapienza with maximum marks!

Nicola's thesis is entitled "Constraining Black Holes with Light Bosonic Hair Using Quasi-periodic Oscillations", whereas Laura's thesis is entitled "Early-Universe Cosmology in Einstein-scalar-Gauss-Bonnet Gravity"

Little time to celebrate for them: Laura is moving to the Perimeter Institute to start a PhD with Neil Turok, whereas Nicola is already at the University of Nottingham and just started a PhD with Thomas Sotiriou.
Kudos to them and good luck!

Celebrating Laura's "laurea" in front of the Physics Building "Edificio Marconi" at Sapienza. 
Elisa (on the left) is next on the line to finish her thesis.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

NASA to rejoin forces with ESA to launch gravitational-wave space detector!

News was in the air since the LIGO discovery, but the 11th LISA symposium in Zürich made it official: after its dropout in 2011, NASA is ready to rejoin ESA in the effort to build the first gravitational-wave observatory on space. The effect of this dropout was not only to change the mission's name (from the original "LISA" to "eLISA") but also to drastically reduce its budget, resulting in a smaller apparatus and reduced science case.

The recent GW discovery has boosted this field and, after the announcement in February, it was immediately clear that the plan was to anticipate eLISA flight (initially tentatively scheduled around 2034). Now, it seems that eLISA could fly some years earlier (around 2030) and, most importantly, it will probably be build in its original LISA design, thanks to the joint effort of ESA and NASA.

eLISA is a triangular laser interferometer that will search for gravitational waves in space

After the LIGO/Virgo discovery, after the amazing success of the LISA Pathfinder, this is yet another great news for gravitational physics and science in general. Year 2016 will definitely be remembered as marking the birth of a new discipline.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lectures on Gravitational Waves

This and next week I will be giving a series of lectures on "Gravitational Waves" at the Escola de Astrofísica e Gravitação (EAG8) at IST (Lisbon) and at the international school Invisible16 at SISSA (Trieste), respectively. The lectures at SISSA will be also recorded.

Some material related to the lectures (references, problems and notebooks) can be found here (this is still work in progress, since I am still preparing the problems and the Mathematica notebooks...)

The poster of EAG8

The poster of Invisible16