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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:West Virginia University Research Corporation
  • Sean T McWilliams
  • (304) 435-5311
Award Date:12/16/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 400,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 75,211
  • FY 2020=$75,211
Start Date:12/15/2019
End Date:11/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Developing Next Generation Gravitational Waveforms for Generic Black-Hole Binaries
Federal Award ID Number:1945130
DUNS ID:191510239
Program Officer:
  • Pedro Marronetti
  • (703) 292-7372

Awardee Location

Street:P.O. Box 6845
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:West Virginia University
Street:135 Willey Street PO Box 6315
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

The measurements of gravitational waves by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) are becoming ever more precise with time. The need for more accurate and efficient gravitational waveform models for black-hole binaries (BHBs) is substantial and urgent if we hope to realize a wide range of potential applications in terms of performing high precision astronomical observations, such as determining the formation mechanism of BHBs throughout the Universe, or searching for small deviations from General Relativity. This project will help realize the full potential of future Advanced LIGO measurements, by creating a far more accurate and efficient waveform model. In addition to the scientific components, this proposal will help facilitate a program of outreach that will reach schools and venues for the general public throughout the state of West Virginia. The PI's group will apply the current Backwards One-Body (BOB) model to study recoil, generate merger models for well-motivated alternative theories, and compare to the small number of available numerical relativity (NR) results. This work will be concurrent with, but independent from, the separately funded work developing a new approximant within LALSuite that evolves the most state-of-the-art Effective One-Body (EOB) model, SEOBNRv4P, in spherical coordinates, and replaces the ringdown attachment with BOB. The team will then modify the inspiral evolution to utilize a co-precessing frame, separate the relevant dynamical timescales, and create an integration routine to maximize timesteps. Finally, they will develop a new version of BOB with an evolving background spacetime in order to ensure accuracy at earlier times, and thereby create a model with comparable accuracy to NR, but entirely independent from NR. They will apply this model to conduct a detailed comparison with existing NR-calibrated models, in order to better establish systematic uncertainties. This work will ensure that future gravitational-wave observations are only limited by the sensitivity of the instrument, and not by the presence of modeling error. In addition, this proposal will help facilitate a program of outreach that will reach schools and venues for the general public throughout the state of West Virginia, by developing new demonstrations and presentations and training students within the WV SPOT program and the WVU Astronomy Club to present them, and also by bringing a major outreach event, an updated version of the Celebrating Einstein performances previously hosted at WVU, to multiple venues, and to numerous audiences including entire classes of students from schools throughout the state. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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