• Question: what inspired you to study gravitational waves

    Asked by 556sptm49 to Christine on 6 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Christine Simpson

      Christine Simpson answered on 6 Mar 2018:

      I got to gravitational waves via statistics- I wanted to do a PhD in Data Science/Statistics because there are so many cool things you can do with Machine Learning and Statistics. My background was in physics so I naturally was most interested in physics problems. Then around the time I was working on my applications, the LIGO experiment started observing Gravitational waves and I knew it was the right application for me.

      Gravitational waves are exciting because they allow us to take measurements of things you can’t see with photons (light). All other space telescopes use light, infra red or radiowaves to observe the universe, and those are all transmitted by photons. Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime, and so they are a completely separate measurement that allow us to confirm things we can see and also allow us to measure things we can’t see with ordinary telescopes. And, the more measurements we can take, the better we can understand how the universe works.