Listening for the origins of the Universe with cosmological gravitational waves

David Weir [he/they] - davidjamesweir

[Sources: Kurtis Garbutt (CC BY 2.0); Tony Hisgett (CC BY 2.0); Jeremy Keith (CC BY 2.0)]

But back then, soon after the Big Bang,
the universe wasn't transparent :(

Q: How can we work out what happened?

A: Listen for the echoes of colliding bubbles, with gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves...

... squeeze and stretch rings of matter

[Source: ESA, C.Carreau]

[Source: Andrea Nguyen (CC BY 2.0)]

LIGO at the Hanford Site

[Source: LIGO (PD), Umptanum (PD)]

Two neutron stars merging

But to hear the early universe...
we need to go into space

[Source: Guillaume Normand (CC BY SA 2.0)]

LISA, 2034

"The quietest place in space"

[Source: LISA consortium]

LISA will be huge

[Source: NASA (PD)]