Congratulations to David Dawe, who passed his thesis exam today for his work on “The Dynamics of and Gravitational Radiation from Supermassive Black Holes in Galactic Nuclei”. His research starts from the premise that most galaxies harbor very massive black holes (each millions or billions times the mass of the sun). We also know that the galaxies we see in the Universe today were formed by the merging of smaller galaxies over the many billions of years since the big bang — hence, we expect their individual “parent” black holes to fall to the center of the “daughter” galaxy and, eventually, merge. Dave calculated the details of how the black holes sink to the center, and the gravitational radiation emitted as they spiral toward each other. Eventually, we hope to observe those tiny ripples in space-time with something like the Pulsar Timing Array (see also here) and eventually with the LISA gravitational-wave telescope (also discussed here).
Great work, Dr Dawe!