Prof. V. Fafone
Gravitational Waves
(S3, elective, 6 ECTS)
Learning Outcomes:The course aims to provide students with an advanced preparation in the theory of gravitational radiation, its sources and detection methods. Students will have to acquire the capability to select the most relevant items in the current literature and to connect different aspects of astrophysics and fundamental physics that can be investigated using these signals.
Knowledge and Understanding:
Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the main aspects related to the study of gravitational waves, how they are generated and how they can be detected using current technologies. They will reach a level of understanding that allows them to read and understand scientific papers and to critically discuss the topics covered in the course program.
Applying Knowledge and Understanding:At the end of the course the students will have gained insight into the fundamental concepts of gravitational astronomy and will be able to apply them to new topics in the field, identifying the key elements of a complex physical problem and modeling it with the needed approximations. They will have understood how to extract the scientific information from the available data. They will also be able to solve basic problems one topics discussed during the course.
PrerequisitesFundamentals of general relativity, of astrophysics and of signal theory
ProgramGeneral relativity and the weak field approximation: the wave equation for the gravitational radiation. Astrophysical sources of gravitational waves. Computation of the gravitational signal emitted by coalescent binary systems. Gravitational collapse and its messengers. Gravitational radiation emitted by neutron stars. Stochastic background. The gravitational spectrum and the possible detection techniques: polarization of the cosmic microwave background, pulsar timing array. Experimental techniques in interferometric detectors. Introduction to data analysis techniques. Exploiting the synergies with electromagnetic and neutrino observations: the multi messenger approach. Recent results and their implications in fundamental physics, astrophysics and cosmology.
Description of how the course is conductedLectures and exercises to be held in the classroom (in groups or individually) and at home. Reading and discussion on scientific papers dealing with specific topics covered in the course. Weekly receptions for clarifications on topics discussed during the lectures.
Description of the didactic methodsSee above. Attendance is not mandatory but strongly recommended.
Description of the evaluation methodsThe assessment of acquired knowledge will make use of the results from: – an oral exam, in which the student will have to demonstrate the level of understanding of the covered topics, the capability to present them in a clear and precise way, the capability to use and link together the various concepts. – the presentation of a scientific paper or a project dealing with one of the topics discussed in the course.
Adopted TextbooksM. Maggiore: Gravitational Waves – Volume 1: theory and experiments P.R. Saulson: Fundamentals of Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detectors
Recommended readings