One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein produced one of the greatest intellectual achievements in physics, the theory of general relativity. In general relativity, spacetime is dynamic. It can be warped into a black hole. Accelerating masses create ripples in spacetime known as gravitational waves (GWs) that carry energy away from the source. Recent advances in detector sensitivity led to the first direct detection of gravitational waves in 2015. This was a landmark achievement in human discovery and heralded the birth of the new field of gravitational wave astronomy. This was followed in 2017 by the first observations of the collision of two neutron-stars. The accompanying explosion was subsequently seen in follow-up observations by telescopes across the globe, and ushered in a new era of multi-messenger astronomy.
Gravitational Wave researchers around Australia including ANU Centre for Gravitational Physics (now CGA, Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics) came together in 2017 under the umbrella of ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav). The mission of OzGrav is to capitalise on the historic first detections of gravitational waves to understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped spacetime, and to inspire the next generation of Australian scientists and engineers through this new window on the Universe. The Centre brings together the Australian pulsar and gravitational-wave communities in a focused national program.
OzGrav has recently celebrated its third birthday and achievements during the life of the centre.
OzGrav is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence funding scheme, and is a partnership between Swinburne University (headquarter of OzGrav), the Australian National University, Monash University, University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne, and University of Western Australia, along with other collaborating organisations in Australia and overseas.