This Week

Week Commencing 27 November 2017

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 28 November 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 29 November 2017, 12 noon, Physics West Library

School Colloquium

Wednesday 29 November 2017, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06
Speaker: Fay Dowker, Imperial
Title: Causal Sets, Discrete Gravity

Abstract: Quantum gravity is the name of a problem, not a theory. The problem
is that we do not have a unified framework for fundamental physics in which
both gravity and quantum theory are incorporated. Causal Set Theory is an
approach to the problem based on the hypothesis that spacetime is fundamentally
discrete or atomic. I will explain the motivation behind this approach and map
out some of the frontiers of current research in the area. I will describe how
causal set theory has already had one empirical success and suggest that more
may be coming as the standard cosmological model (Lambda-Cold-Dark-Matter)
comes under pressure from more data.

Special Seminar

Thursday 30 November 2017, 11am, Nuffield G17
Speaker: Matt Nicholl, Harvard
Title: The kilonova counterpart to GW170817

We will have a special seminar by Matt Nicholl on Thursday, 30 November, at
11 AM in Nuffield G17. Matt is a transient observer and he will be visiting
us from Harvard from Wednesday afternoon through Friday, so let me know if
you would like to meet with him at any point during those days. I Mandel

Abstract: On 17 August 2017, the LIGO-Virgo gravitational wave observatories
detected a compact binary merger with a difference: for the first time, the
component masses were consistent with neutron stars rather than black holes.
Moreover, the Fermi satellite simultaneously detected a short gamma-ray burst
from a consistent sky position, marking the beginning of joint GW-EM astronomy.
I will describe our discovery of the optical counterpart using the Dark Energy
Camera, and subsequent follow-up in optical, infrared, UV, X-ray and radio.
The wealth of data reveals multiple emission components including a relativistic
jet and the first clear evidence for a radioactive ‘kilonova’ comprised of
r-process ejecta, proving that neutron star mergers are a key source of the
heaviest elements. I will show how our modelling of the transient and its host
galaxy sheds light on the physical conditions in the system and its pre-merger


Jim W. Barrett, Sebastian M. Gaebel, Coenraad J. Neijssel, Alejandro Vigna-Gómez
, Simon Stevenson, Christopher P. L. Berry, Will M. Farr, Ilya Mandel.

Accuracy of inference on the physics of binary evolution from gravitational-wave


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