Special Events and Invited Talks

A Conversation with the Northwestern Scientists behind the First-ever Multi-messenger Astronomy Observations

Moderated by Dr. Michelle Larson, President & CEO, Adler Planetarium

Vicky Kalogera, Shane Larson, Raffaella Margutti, Wen-fai Fong

-- Panel discussion is free and open to the public.
-- No registration or ticket required.
-- Doors will open at 6:15pm.
-- Room is wheelchair accessible.
-- Campus parking structures and lots are free for public use after 4:00pm.

Join the Facebook Event.

Event will be LIVESTREAMED and RECORDED. Please see Event Web site for more information.

On October 16, 2017, scientists announced the first-ever observation of a binary neutron star inspiral and merger—this astronomical event will provide a powerful new way to understand the lives of stars and how they die and join the galactic graveyard.

Anticipated by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) for more than 20 years, this merger represents the first joint detection of an astronomical event using two astronomical observing techniques: gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation. Together these approaches are known as "multi-messenger astronomy". Gravitational waves were the subject of 2017's Nobel Prize in Physics, and multi-messenger astronomy was named one of the NSF's 10 Big Ideas for future scientific investment. Northwestern played a singularly unique role with scientific leadership on both sides of this cutting-edge discovery.

Join Professors Kalogera, Larson, Margutti and Fong for a moderated panel discussion, as they describe their roles and experiences in the making of this ground-breaking discovery. These exceptional researchers will also explain what these new findings mean for humanity's understanding of the universe, and the dawn of a new age of astronomy.

View the Northwestern Special Feature, for videos, podcast, and interviews with CIERA astronomers involved in the discovery!

Free and open to the public. No registration or ticket required.

Northwestern University's Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences Present: a joint CIERA Interdisciplinary Colloquium & EPS Seminar

Dan Tamayo
University of Toronto's Centre for Planetary Sciences (CPS) and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA)
Hosts: Fred Rasio, Seth Jacobson, Sourav Chatterjee

A Million-fold Speedup in the Dynamical Characterization of Multi-planet Systems

Many of the multi-planet systems discovered around other stars are dynamically packed to capacity. This implies that orbital integrations with masses or orbital parameters too far from the actual values will destabilize on short timescales; thus, long-term dynamics allows one to constrain the orbital architectures of many closely packed multi-planet systems. I will present a recent such application in the TRAPPIST-1 system, with 7 Earth-sized planets in the longest resonant chain discovered to date. In this case the complicated resonant phase space structure allows for strong constraints. A central challenge in such studies is the large computational cost of direct integrations, which preclude a full survey of the high-dimensional parameter space of orbital architectures allowed by observations. I will discuss our recent successes in training machine learning models capable of reliably predicting orbital stability a million times faster than direct integrations. This opens a wide discovery space for exoplanet characterization and planet formation studies as the next generation of spaceborne exoplanet surveys prepare for launch next year.