Probing the nature of gravity with gravitational waves
The quickly growing field of gravitational wave science provides us with a very powerful, new way of probing gravitational physics. By carefully investigating the signatures of black hole and neutron star mergers, we can extract novel insights into the underlying fundamental nature of gravity. From investigating the propagation of gravitational waves over cosmological distances to using field theory techniques to understand the emission of gravitational waves in binary systems, this project will make use of the full range of scales probed by gravitational wave experiments and will synoptically use techniques ranging from those traditionally employed in particle theory, to those more commonly seen in astrophysics and cosmology.
More specifically, this project will focus on identifying the signatures of novel gravitational physics in gravitational wave signals, e.g. modified dispersion relations associated with spontaneous violations of Lorentz symmetry, and testing them against data from the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) collaboration as well as forecasting corresponding constraints for the upcoming LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) mission. We will use this to gain new insights into the nature of gravity from the very largest to the very smallest scales in the Universe: For example, we will link gravitational wave constraints to large-scale cosmological observables and use gravitational wave observations at high frequencies to test the small scale/high energy regime of gravity.
Contact Dr Johannes Noller (j.noller AT ucl.ac.uk)