Theory Colloquium

Testing the nature of gravitational waves with observations of binary pulsars

by Paulo Freire (M)

4-3-006 - TH Conference Room (CERN)

4-3-006 - TH Conference Room


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In this talk, I will review some of the principles of pulsar timing, and review some of the results from the timing of binary pulsars from previous work. These include the observation of gravitational waves (GWs) in the energy loss of the "Hulse-Taylor" double neutron star, almost 40 years before the LIGO observation. I then introduce ongoing work, which tests the emission of GWs with far more accuracy than in the Hulse-Taylor pulsar, and new detections of the emission of gravitational waves in pulsar-white dwarf systems, which introduce strong constraints on the nature of GWs. In particular, we are able to exclude, within observing precision, any dipolar components of gravitational radiation, showing that they are almost purely quadrupolar. These results are then used for some of the most stringent tests of general relativity and alternative theories of gravity ever accomplished.