BSA Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, 6/16, 4:30 p.m.: Imre Bartos & Gravitational Waves

Imre Bartos enlarge

Astrophysicist Imre Bartos. Photo: Columbia Experimental Gravity Group

Astrophysicist Imre Bartos, a member of the LIGO collaboration that confirmed Albert Einstein's 100-year-old scientific theory with a 2016 announcement of the first gravitational waves ever detected, will present a BSA Distinguished Lecture at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Thursday, June 16. Bartos' talk, titled "The Discovery of Gravitational Waves from Colliding Black Holes," will be held in Berkner Hall at 4:30 p.m.

At 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Sept. 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory's (LIGO) detectors in the states of Louisiana and Washington identified signals they'd been waiting for. The minuscule disturbances in space the two LIGO detectors picked up were gravitational waves produced from a cataclysmic collision between two black holes an estimated 1.3 billion years ago. Einstein first predicted gravitational waves in 1916 and now that they have been observed and confirmed, our understanding of gravity and space will never be the same.

During this BSA Distinguished Lecture, Bartos will provide an introduction to gravitational waves. He will then describe this recent discovery and explain how it opens a new window to the universe, expanding the frontiers of astrophysics and cosmology.

The collision of two black holes

The collision of two black holes —a tremendously powerful event detected for the first time ever by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO—is seen in this still from a computer simulation. Image: SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project (

About the Speaker

Imre Bartos is a lecturer at Columbia University, where he earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2012. He is a member of the LIGO scientific collaboration as well as an associate member of the IceCube collaboration that is searching for particles called neutrinos with a detector positioned deep within the ice of Antarctica. He also works on the biological applications for optics to fight malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and better understand neurological diseases.

Forbes Magazine named Bartos one of the top 30 Under 30 Rising Stars of Science in 2012, and he was part of a Grand Challenges Explorations Team supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Columbia's Department of Physics presented Bartos with the Allan M. Sachs Teaching Award and he was named a finalist for Columbia's Presidential Teaching Award. He was one of the contributors honored with a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in May 2016 and 2016 Gruber Prize through his membership in the LIGO collaboration.

About BSA Distinguished Lectures

BSA Distinguished Lectures are sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates, the company that manages Brookhaven Lab, to present topics of general interest to the Laboratory community and the public. These lectures are free and open to the public. All visitors to the Laboratory 16 and older must bring a photo ID.

This lecture is also scheduled to be webcast live and archived online at

The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway, one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway.

For more information, call (631) 344-2345.

2016-11845  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom