Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Einstein Week 2016 Keynote Speaker Joseph Giaime Set for Thursday, April 21

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Inclement weather forced the rescheduling of Einstein Week’s keynote address from Joseph Giaime, who serves as observatory head at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detector in Livingston, Louisiana. Giaime’s lecture will take place on Thursday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in the University Center’s Sen. Theodore “Ted” M. Hickey ballroom. The lecture is entitled “Hearing Black Holes Collide in Louisiana: LIGO’s Breakthrough Detection of Gravitational Waves.” The event is free and open to the public, and doors will open at 6:00 p.m.

Giaime and team at LIGO recently detected gravitational waves from the collision of a binary pair of black holes a billion light years from earth. This observation, made about a century after the publication of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity and his prediction of such waves, is a major breakthrough in the field of physics and opens a new era of astronomy. In the tradition of Einstein Week, his presentation will be geared toward a general audience.

Aside from weather affecting the keynote address, a tradition of outreach and discovery on the UNO campus continued with another successful Einstein Week celebration led by the Department of Physics and the UNO Physics Club. Einstein Week is nationally recognized to commemorate the birthday of renowned physicist Albert Einstein on March 14, which is also known as “Pi Day” because the date can be represented by the numbers 3.14. At UNO and other institutions, the commemoration provides an opportunity to spark interest in physics through engagement and education.

This year, Einstein Week Demonstration Day took place on March 30 and once again drew crowds of onlookers for the liquid nitrogen ping pong ball explosion, the firing of the vacuum cannon and several other demonstrations. A team from LIGO of Livingston joined the Physics Club this year with demonstrations of their own. Participants were also able to tour the UNO observatory and visit the laboratories of UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI).