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A new and accessible introduction to the detection of gravitational waves

10 March 2020

A new book by Professor Hartmut Grote tells the story of the work behind the historic detection of gravitational waves and considers how this will open up a new era of astronomical discovery.

Hartmut Grote is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University whose research work focusses on instrumentation for gravitational wave detectors and how these complex machines can be made more sensitive and reliable. His new book, “Gravitational Waves: A History of Discovery” has just been published by CRC Press and is a general introduction to the topic.

Professor Grote has worked on building and improving gravitational wave detectors for over 20 years. An accomplished scientist in this field, from 2009 to 2017, he was the scientific leader of the British-German gravitational-wave detector: GEO600.

Speaking of his recent publication, Professor Grote said: “It's mostly for a general public audience, but in particular - I hope - a good overview and introduction to the field for students and anyone interested in the topic.” His book reconstructs the history and research behind the first detection of a gravitational wave event on September 14, 2015 – the fusion of two black holes. Professor Grote tells the story of how this came about and walks us through the main principles of how gravitational waves are detected and studied.

As an introductory text, this book carefully explains the inner workings of these detectors, looks at how data is mined for information on gravitational waves, and considers how this will open up new astronomical discoveries. This book is accessible to non-specialist readers from a general audience, and serves as an excellent introduction to the topic for undergraduates in physics.

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