School on Gravitational Waves for Cosmology and Astrophysics, Benasque, Spain

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Date:  2017-05-28  -  2017-06-10

Location:  Benasque, Spain

The recent direct observation of gravitational waves marked the beginning of a new era for the exploration of the universe.

Relevant for astrophysics, gravitational waves bring information about the processes underlying the formation and evolution of neutron star and black hole binaries, about the nature of compact objects in the centre of galaxies, and about possible deviations from predictions of General Relativity.

In the context of cosmology, gravitational waves are important since they bring direct information on the status of the universe before recombination, at times inaccessible by electromagnetic signals. They propagate practically unperturbed after their generation, arising from a broad range of violent phenomena that may have occurred in the early universe (e.g. inflationary processes, first order phase transitions and topological defects). Furthermore, the coincident detection of electromagnetic and gravitational radiation from astrophysical sources will allow to probe the evolution of the universe at large scales, and consequently to constrain the nature of dark energy and dark matter.

In the near future a considerable amount of data on gravitational waves will be provided by the LIGO/VIRGO, LISA and PTA experiments. To extract from this data the implications for theoretical physics, a deep knowledge of ground and space-based interferometers and pulsar timing arrays, and of gravitational wave data analysis seems paramount. The school aims at providing the basis of this knowledge.

The focus of the school are the main cosmological and astrophysical sources of gravitational waves and how experimental data are treated to analyse these sources. The ultimate goal is to provide Ph.D. students and young postdocs with an up to date and broad spectrum of tools and results. The school will also serve to strengthen and diversify the community working on theoretical aspects of gravitational waves.