Lectures and courses of the IMPRS for gravitational-wave astronomy

On this webpage you will find information and course material on the latest and previous lectures organized by the IMPRS in Potsdam. Usually, these courses are designed for remote participation.

Astrophysics of Compact Objects

This online course took place in May and June, 2021

Synopsis: This is a two-part course, given by two lecturers: The first part will be given Prof. Dr. Thomas Tauris, professor at Aarhus University, and the second part by Prof. Dr. Alberto Sesana, professor at the University of Milano Bicocca.

The first part of the course will review the formation and evolution of binary-star systems with compact objects (BHs: black holes, NSs: neutron stars, and WDs: white dwarfs). The course will provide an introduction to the following topics: binary star interactions, mass transfer, supernovae, X-ray binaries, common envelopes, radio pulsars, pulsar spin and B-field evolution, magnetars, recycling, millisecond pulsars, gravitational waves (GWs), population synthesis and modelling of GW sources, GW merger rates, masses and spins of NSs and BHs, LISA sources, and dual-line GW sources.

The second part of the course will focus on the astrophysics of supermassive black holes and supermassive black hole (MBH) binaries (MBHBs). After a brief historical introduction and a review of the observational evidence of MBH existence, the lectures will describe proposed formation channels and the physical mechanisms that grow their masses over cosmic history. The course will then focus on the formation of MBHBs following galaxy mergers and on their subsequent dynamical evolution. The final part of the course will discuss the merger rates of MBHBs over cosmic history and the relevance of these sources for LISA and PTA experiments.

The course website can be found here.

Gravitational Waves

This online course was part of the course catalogue of the Humboldt University of Berlin and took place in Winter 2020.

Synopsis: In early 2016, one hundred years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves on the basis of his theory of General Relativity, LIGO announced the first observation of gravitational waves passing through the Earth emitted by the collision of two black holes one billion four-hundred million light years away. Since then, tens of binary black holes and two neutron stars have been observed by LIGO and Virgo detectors.

In this course we will review what gravitational waves are, how they are produced, what are the main astrophysical and cosmological sources and how we model them, using analytical and numerical relativity. We will also review the quest for gravitational waves, which culminated with the recent discovery by LIGO, and discuss how those new astronomical messengers are detected and how they can unveil the properties of the most extreme astrophysical objects in the universe.

The course website can be found here.

Making sense of data: introduction to statistics for gravitational-wave astronomy

This IMPRS course at AEI Potsdam took place in Fall/Winter 2019/2020.

Synopsis: Measurements of the properties of gravitational wave sources are imperfect due to the presence of noise in the gravitational wave interferometers used to detect them. Extracting useful scientific information from these observations therefore requires careful statistical analysis of the data in order to understand the significance of the observed events, the level of uncertainty in the parameter estimates and the implications of the observations for the population from which the sources are drawn. This lecture course gives an overview of some key statistical ideas and techniques that are essential for interpreting current and future gravitational wave observations.

The course website can be found here

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