Northwestern Events Calendar


Astro Seminar: Stephen Taylor: Charting The Next Frontier of Gravitational-wave Discovery with Pulsar-timing Arrays

Stephen Taylor

When: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Yas Shemirani  

Group: Physics and Astronomy Astrophysics Seminars

Category: Academic



Gravitational-wave detectors are yielding a bounty of observations, and revolutionising our understanding of stellar-mass black holes. But what about the supermassive black holes that lurk at the heart of massive galaxies? These titans form binaries over cosmic time as a byproduct of hierarchical galaxy growth, emanating gravitational waves in the nanohertz-frequency sensitivity band of networks of Milky Way millisecond pulsars. Pulsar-timing arrays (PTAs) like the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational waves (NANOGrav) and the International Pulsar Timing Array are poised to chart this new frontier of gravitational wave discovery within the next several years. With this new window onto the warped Universe, PTAs will bring a sea-change in our understanding of supermassive binary black-hole demographics and dynamical interactions. Combined with electromagnetic signatures of binary AGN in upcoming time-domain synoptic surveys, PTAs will extend the arena of multi-messenger astronomy to the most massive black holes in the Universe. I will present new results from NANOGrav’s most recent search, discuss some milestones on the road to the exciting next decade of PTA discovery, and highlight new techniques to facilitate future multi-messenger supermassive black-hole binary characterization.


Speaker: Stephen Taylor, Vanderbilt University


Host: Kerry Paterson and Luke Kelley 

If you know someone who would be interested in attending this talk, please contact Yas Shemirani ( to access the Zoom link.

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics

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