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Center for Fundamental Theory Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology Center for Particle and Gravitational Astrophysics

The Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos is a multidisciplinary institute of Penn State researchers dedicated to the study of the most fundamental structure and constituents of the Universe.

News and Events

  • IGC is co-sponsoring this year's Frontiers of Science Lecture Series entitled "100 Years after Einstein's Greatest Discovery: New Science from General Relativity." The series will consist of 6 public lectures, held on consecutive Saturdays in 100 Thomas Building at the University Park Campus.

    January 24: "Understanding Einstein's Greatest Discovery," John Norton (Director, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh)

    January 31: "Sculpting the Universe," David Weinberg (The Henry L. Cox Professor and Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Ohio State)

    February 7: "The Warped Side of the Universe," Nergis Mavalvala (The Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics, MIT)

    February 14: "Capturing the Birth Cries of Black Holes," John Nousek (Director of Mission Operations at NASA's SWIFT Satellite)

    February 21: "Discovering Planets," Jason Wright (Astronomy and Astrophysics, Penn State)

    February 28: "Pushing Science Beyond Einstein," Eugenio Bianchi (Physics, Penn State)
  • Main results of a recent paper by Abhay Ashtekar, Beatrice Bonga and Aruna Kesavan (Class. Quantum Grav. 32, 025004) were highlighted by the British IOP on their website CQGplus PDF
  • Lucas Hackl has been selected to serve as the APS student representative on the Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The coalition seeks to encourage the "science, engineering and health communities" to "embrace human rights as an area suitable for and deserving of robust inquiry, and become an influential voice in the defense of human rights."
  • The IceCube 2014 discovery of a 2 PeV cosmic neutrino event ("Big Bird") has been featured by APS as one of the Top 10 Physics News Stories in 2014.

New Research Limits Big Bang's Output of Gravity Waves

A significant advance in our understanding of the early evolution of the universe has been achieved by a team of scientists associated with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. The team's results appeared in the August 20, 2009 issue of the journal Nature. The gravitational-wave scientists, including Lee Samuel Finn, a Penn State professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics, and Benjamin Owen, a Penn State professor of physics, have put new constraints on the details of how the universe looked in its earliest moments. Analysis of the team's data, taken from 2005 to 2007, has set the most stringent limits yet on the amount of gravitational waves that could have come from the Big Bang.

"Our results are a major step toward the detection of primordial gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of space and time - that were created as the universe expanded in its earliest moments," said Finn, who has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since its inception. More....

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