Synopsis:
In early 2016, one hundred years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves on the basis of his theory of General Relativity, LIGO announced the first observation of gravitational waves passing through the Earth emitted by the collision of two black holes one billion fourhundred million light years away.
In this course we will review what gravitational waves are, how they are produced, what are the main astrophysical and cosmological sources and how we model them, using analytical and numerical relativity. We will also review the quest for gravitational waves, which culminated with the recent discovery by LIGO, and discuss how those new astronomical messengers are detected and how they can unveil the properties of the most extreme astrophysical objects in the universe.
Classes schedule:
Classroom: PSC3150 at UMD
Lecture days: Mondays & Tuesdays: 9:00am – 10:15am (EST)
First day of class: January 30th
Last day of class: May 9th
Instructor contact info:
Name: Alessandra Buonanno
Office room: PSC3149 @ UMD, office # 1.24 @ AEI
Email: buonanno@umd.edu & alessandra.buonanno@aei.mpg.de
Phone: (301) 405 1440 & +49 331 567 7220
Office hours: by appointment
TA contact info:
Name: Noah Sennett
Office room: PSC3264 @ UMD, office # 0.62 @ AEI
Email: noah.sennett@aei.mpg.de & nsennett@umd.edu
Phone: +49 331 5677183
Office hours: by appointment
Textbooks:
Required textbook: “Gravitational Waves Volume 1: Theory and Experiments”, by Michele Maggiore.
Other useful textbooks:
“Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy” by Jolien Creighton & Warren Anderson.
“Gravity” by Eric Poisson & Cliff Will.
“Introduction to General Relativity, Black Holes & Cosmology” by Yvonne ChoquetBruhat.
Prerequisites:
To follow the classes, students should be already familiar with the material covered in an introductory General Relativity course. It is not necessary to have followed a course in astrophysics and/or cosmology.
Exam:
none
Homeworks policy:
 Late homeworks are accepted only under serious circumstances (to be discussed before due day).
 You are encouraged to discuss homeworks with other students, however the work you turn in should be your own formulation and reflection.
 Use of previous solutions is not allowed (violation of this rule is cause for failure of the course).
 Homework sets must show reasoning leading to the final answers in a clear and readable fashion to obtain credit.
 Please, include your name and write very clearly.
 Please, send the homeworks to the TA by email on the due day before class starts.
 Each student will summarize his/her course project in a 10page paper and give a 30minute presentation at the end of the course.
Grading:
The course grade will be based on the homeworks (1/3) and course project (2/3).
Academic Integrity:
The University of Maryland has approved a code of academic integrity available on the web. This code prohibits students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers, submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without authorization, buying papers, submitting fraudulent documents, and forging signatures. The university senate requires that students include the following signed statement on each examination or assignment: “I pledge on my honor that i have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (or assignment).” Compliance with the code is administered by a student honor council, which strives to promote a “community of trust” on the College Park campus. Allegations of academic dishonesty can be reported directly to the honor council (3149154) by any member of the campus community.
Notes:
PHYS879 is part of the course catalogue of the Physics department of the University of Maryland. UMD students have to register and can take this course for academic credit upon fulfillment of the course requirements. The lecture will be given almost entirely remotely from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany, and will be broadcast via videoconferencing to room PSC3150 at UMD.
Students and researchers in the Potsdam area are invited to audit the classes. No academic credit can be obtained, no official enrollment is necessary. However, if you are interested in auditing this class, you must send an email to andre.schirotzek@aei.mpg.de with the subject line: PHY879. The lectures will take place from 3:00pm – 4:15pm (CET) in the Lecture Hall of the Central Building (Zentralgebäude), see here, Am Mühlenberg 1, Potsdam 14476.
Syllabus:
Note: what is below is a tentative course plan. It will be adjusted during the semester.
The sections in the table below refer to the book by M. Maggiore
Date (week)  Monday  Tuesday  Reading material 
Jan 30 & 31 (week 1) 
Overview: A glimpse of gravitationalwave astrophysics

Linearization of Einstein equations, Lorenz gauge, TT gauge [1.1, 1.2] 
Einstein (1916) Einstein (1918) Eddington (1922) EinsteinRosen (1937) 100 years of GWs First GW detection by LIGO Basic physics of GW150914 Flanagan & Hughes (2005) 
Feb 6 & 7 (week 2) 
Interaction of GWs with freely falling test particles, key ideas underlying GW detectors [1.3]  Effective EMT of GWs, GW energy and linearmomentum fluxes [1.4]  1957 Chapel Hill Conference: Pirani & Feynman NiZimmermann (1972) EstabrookWahlquist (1975) Rakhmanov (2004) Kennefick (1997) Isaacson (1968) 
Feb 13 & 14 (week 3) 
Propagation of GWs in curved spacetime, geometric optics approximation, interaction with matter, gravitational lensing, absorption and scattering [1.5]  Astrophysical predictions of compactobject coalescences in light of GW150914 and GW151226 [guest lecturer: Cole Miller] 
MisnerThorneWheeler book (see Ch. 22) Hartle book (see Ch. 11) Wambsganss (1998) BakerTrodden (2016) Miller (2016) (see Sec. 4) BBH rates from first LIGO detections (see Sec. VI) 
Feb 20 & 21 (week 4) 
Basics of black hole spacetimes [guest lecturer: Ted Jacobson] 
Leadingorder generation of GWs in the slowmotion approximation, quadrupole formula [3.1–3.3]  Hartle book (see Ch. 12 & 15) Penrose (1964) Penrose (1965) Penrose & Floyd (1971) Jacobson (2012) 
Feb 27 & 28 (week 5) 
Characteristics of GWs and power radiated from binary systems  GWs from binary systems on inspiraling, circular orbits [4.1.1]  Poisson & Will book (see Ch. 6,7, 11.1, 11.2) Ehlers et al. (1976) 
Mar 6 & 7 (week 6) 
GWs from binary systems on eccentric orbits [4.1.2 & 4.1.3]  Basics of postNewtonian theory [5.1] 
Peters & Mathews (1963) Buonanno & Sathyaprakash (2014) Einstein, Infeld & Hoffmann (1938) 
Mar 13 & 14 (week 7) 
Basics of postMinkowskian theory [5.3] [guest lecturer: Justin Vines] 
Tidal effects in compact objects [guest lecturer: Tanja Hinderer] 
MisnerThorneWheeler book (see Ch. 36.11) Blanchet Living Review in Relativity (see Secs. A2A4) PoissonWill book (see Ch. 1.5, 1.6 & 2.4, 2.5 ) FlanaganHinderer (2007) 
Mar 27 & 28 (week 8) 
Basics of neutron stars, boson stars, etc. [guest lecturer: Tanja Hinderer] 
BH perturbation theory & quasinormal modes 
LectureNotesTidal LectureNotesPlots ReggeWheeler (1957) Vishveshwara (1970) Press (1971) DetweilerChandrasekhar (1975) SchutzWill (1985) 
Apr 3 & 4 (week 9) 
Effectiveonebody theory  Effectiveonebody theory  BuonannoDamour (1999) BuonannoDamour (2000) Buonanno & Sathyaprakash (2014) (see Sec. 6.2.3) Damour (2012) 
Apr 10 & 11 (week 10) 
Numerical Relativity [guest lecturer: Ian Hinder] 
Numerical Relativity [guest lecturer: Ian Hinder] 
Alcubierre book (see Ch. 26) SlidesNR 
Apr 17* & 18 (week 11) 
see note below  Analytical/numerical relativity templates for searches of GWs from compactobject binaries [7.2, 9.2.3] 
SlidesEOBNRAR Finn & Chernoff (1993) Buonanno (2007) (see Sec. 6.4) 
Apr 24 & 25 (week 12) 
Data analysis tools for modeled searches of GWs from compactobject binaries [7.1, 7.3, 7.7] 
Data analysis tools for parameterestimation of GWs from compactobject binaries [7.4] 
SlidesDAPE 
May 1 & 2 (week 13) 
Minimal assumption searches of shortduration GW signals (bursts) [7.5] [guest lecturer: Peter Shawhan] 
Inferring properties/tests of GR with GW150914 & GW151226  GW150914minimalassumptionsearch GW150914properties GW150914testsofGR 
May 8 & 9 (week 14) 
GWs from early Universe: phase transitions, cosmic/fundamental strings/phenomenological bounds  GWs from early Universe: cosmic inflation  SlidesPrimordialGWs Maggiore (2000) (see Secs. 2, 710) LIGOO1GWStochasticBackground Siemens et al. 2007 Caprini et al. 2016 
*: April 17 class will not take place because it is national holiday in Germany and the AEI is closed. We’ll recuperate the class by adding 15 min to the classes of Apr 24, 25, May 2, 8 & 9.
Assignments:
Assigned date/due date  Homeworks  Solutions 
Jan 30/Feb 13  hw1  shw1 
Feb 13/Feb 27  hw2  shw2 
Feb 27/Mar 13  hw3  shw3 
March 13/Apr 7  hw4  shw4 
April 10/May 1  hw5  shw5 
Course projects:
Student name  Project title 
Batoul Banihashemi  Neutronstar currentquadrupole effects in gravitationalwave signals 
Roberto Cotesta  Effectiveonebody multipolar waveforms for spinning, binary black holes 
Nishant Gupta  Laws of neutronstar dynamics versus laws of blackhole dynamics 
Mohammed Khalil  PostNewtonian expansion and effectiveonebody theory for charged bodies 
Israel Martinez  Exploring the potential for join gravitational waves and gammaray bursts observations in the coming years 
Shwan Rosofsky  Exploring numericalrelativity simulations of neutronstar spacetimes 
Donggeun Tak  Revisit electromagnetic counterparts of GW150914 