Dr Patricia Schmidt, University of Birmingham
Gravitational waves -- minuscule distortions in the fabric of spacetime -- were first predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916. They are created in cataclysmic events throughout the Universe. Using some of the most precise rulers ever built, gravitational waves were detected for the first time in 2015. This ground-breaking discovery has opened a new window onto the cosmos: Gravitational waves provide unique information about the most energetic astrophysical events, revealing insights into the nature of gravity, matter, space, and time. To date, many tens of gravitational waves originating from the collisions of black holes and neutron stars have been identified, giving us extraordinary new insights into the inner workings of our Universe. In this lecture, I will look at the universe through Einstein's eyes: I will discuss the detection of gravitational waves as well as some of the most remarkable observations in recent years and their dramatic consequences for our understanding of the Universe.
About Dr Patricia Schmidt
Patricia Schmidt is a lecturer in Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Birmingham. She was born and raised in Vienna, Austria, where she studied Physics and Astronomy at the University of Vienna. She obtained her PhD from Cardiff University in 2014. Before coming to Birmingham in 2019, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology and the LIGO Laboratory in Pasadena, USA and a Dutch Research Council Veni fellow at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on predicting the gravitational-wave signal from colliding black holes and neutron stars as well as the characterisation and interpretation of gravitational-wave observations. She has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2010, where she is one of the chairs of the parameter estimation group. Outside of academia Patricia likes to explore the wonders of the oceans in scuba gear and to grow her own veg.