Sounds from the Universe: Measuring and Interpreting Gravitational Waves
Discussion with Annika Kahrs (artist), Louis d’Heudières (composer and sound artist), and Alessandra Buonanno (Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Gravitational Physics)
Created in the tissue of space-time, gravitational waves are a propagating phenomenon caused by, amongst others, the collision of black holes traveling at the speed of light. The US-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) was the first scientific institution in 2015 to translate gravitational waves into an acoustic signal which took the form of a “chirp” sound.
In a scientific input lecture, Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, explains how, about 100 years after Albert Einstein postulated the existence of gravitational waves, it was possible to provide empirical proof of this phenomenon. She provides information on how gravitational waves are measured, what the laboratory must be like for this purpose, and how gravitational waves can be converted into acoustic signals. Afterwards, she discusses the film “Gravity’s Tune” with the artist Annika Kahrs and the composer and sound artist Louis d’Heudières. The discussion centers around their artistic approach of using the medium of music to open up access to the world of astrophysics and the exploration of the universe.