Turning Einstein’s imagination into reality

General Gravity Astrophysics Concept

OzGrav, the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery at Swinburne, has received an additional $35 million in funding to continue its pioneering research at the forefront of human understanding.

OzGrav makes waves with $35 million to understand the universe

The Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for the Discovery of Gravitational Waves (OzGrav) at Swinburne has received additional funding of $35 million to continue its groundbreaking discoveries at the cutting edge of human understanding.

The new funding will support OzGrav’s work investigating the fundamental nature of relativistic gravity, ultra-dense matter and the universe, generating discoveries critical to cementing Australia’s leadership role in the growing field of gravitational wave science.

The center’s director, Professor Matthew Bailes, says the funding will not only enable OzGrav to make landmark discoveries about the nature of our universe, but will also lay the groundwork for Australian science mega-instruments that could transform physics in the decades to come. 2030 and 2040.

“When OzGrav was launched in 2017, we helped usher in a new era of astrophysics. This reinvestment will put us at the forefront of transformative scientific discoveries well into the next decade,” says Professor Bailes.

“The opportunity to attract and work with the talented young scientists and engineers that this Center will attract is incredibly energizing.

“By improving our advanced gravitational wave detectors, we will be able to understand more about our universe, probe neutron stars and black holes, and map the cosmic evolution of the universe.”

Turning Einstein’s imagination into reality

First predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915 in his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves went unnoticed for a hundred years before scientific advances allowed their first detection in 2015.

Since then, OzGrav researchers have been at the forefront of gravitational wave discovery, making important discoveries to help understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped spacetime.

“As a technology-focused university with a wealth of experience in astronomy, physics and space research, Swinburne is proud to continue to be the home of this global collaboration,” says Assistant Vice-Chancellor and Research Professor Karen Hapgood.

“Under the direction of Professor Matthew Bailes, OzGrav has made a number of field-defining contributions to our understanding of the universe.

“By building closer relationships with industry and through our leading space education programs, we hope to expand this impact and inspire the next generation of graduates into Australia’s high-tech workforce.”

State-of-the-art discoveries

New funding from the Australian Research Council will enable OzGrav to maximize the sensitivity and performance of gravitational wave detectors, suppressing quantum noise and reducing coating losses. This is expected to increase detection rates by more than an order of magnitude. This will enable:

  • The discovery of new sources of[{” attribute=””>gravitational waves and extreme electromagnetic events
  • Testing the boundaries of Einstein’s theory of general relativity in the strongest gravitational fields in the universe, using black holes and pulsars
  • Understanding ultra-dense matter through the observation of neutron stars and their mergers
  • Mapping the cosmic evolution of the universe using gravitational waves and fast radio bursts

OzGrav is also committed to strengthening equity and diversity in this sector and increasing participation and career options for under-represented groups in STEM. Through school outreach, the Centre also aims to inspire the next generation to pursue a career in STEM, especially at an age when many young women and under-represented groups choose to not take STEM subjects.

Headquartered at Swinburne University of Technology, OzGrav is a collaboration between a number of Australian universities, including the University of Queensland, The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in the United States, as well as institutions in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

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