School of Physics Colloquium

Sarah Vigeland (Nanograv/UWM)

Speaker: Sarah Vigeland (Nanograv/UWM)

Host: Prof. Surabhi Sachdev, Prof. Tamara Bogdanovic

Title: Searching for a Gravitational Wave Background with Pulsar Timing Arrays


Pulsar timing arrays use observations of millisecond pulsars to detect nanohertz gravitational waves. The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) Collaboration has recently released their 15-year data set containing observations of 68 millisecond pulsars. 
These data contain evidence for Hellings-Downs correlations, which are characteristic of a gravitational wave background. In this talk, I will present these results, and discuss the spectral properties of the signal and implications for the astrophysical source. I will also discuss prospects for detecting other types of gravitational wave sources with pulsar timing arrays, including individual supermassive binary black holes.

Bio: Sarah Vigeland is a gravitational wave astrophysicist whose work focuses on detecting gravitational waves with pulsar timing arrays. She is a member of the NANOGrav Collaboration, and currently serves as chair of the Gravitational Wave Detection Working Group. She earned her Ph.D. from MIT in 2012, and did postdocs at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as an assistant professor in 2019.

Event Details


  • Date: 
    Monday, October 30, 2023 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Marcus Nanotechnology Bldg. Room: 1116-1118