JMSS Graduate involved in Gravitational Wave discovery

Chris Whittle started at John Monash Science School (JMSS) in 2010 in the first cohort of students. He says he 

"When I started at John Monash I didn’t really know what I wanted to do to be honest. I knew that I liked science and I might go somewhere where I can study some more science, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But after my time at John Monash and getting to make the most of some of these opportunities I realised that physics and maths they were the things that I really enjoyed and wanted to keep doing and I wasn’t done with those yet so I decided to pursue them further at university."

Chris graduated from JMSS in 2012 and went on to complete a Bachelor of Science over at Monash University. "I’ve been studying primarily physics, maths and some computer science, and so now I’m in my Honours year, again at Monash, doing physics and I’m working on a project with Dr Eric Thrane at Monash and this is on gravitational wave detection, and we’ve recently had the discovery of gravitational waves now it’s an exciting time for gravitational wave astronomy and we’re excited to see what we’re going to observe in the next observing run."

Gravitational waves are created when 2 black holes merge, and Chris has been working on the software used for analysing data. He says "Later in the year I’ll be going over to one of the LIGO observation sites and doing some work there and so that will be work on improving the detector before the next observing run to hopefully increase the sensitivity of the detectors to observe more astronomical events."

The first announcement in February this year was made regarding gravitational wave detection (data from September 2015 needed to be analysed for several months to confirm the result), and has been followed by a second announcement on 16th June 2016 of a second but smaller detection, travelling 1.4 billion years to reach us on Earth on December 26th 2015.

Read more about the detection at ABC: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-16/scientists-detect-second-gravitational-wave/7512538

Read the full article about Monash University's involvement here: http://monash.edu/news/show/monash-involved-in-second-detection-of-gravitational-waves

Monash in Focus episode featuring Chris Whittle and Dr Eric Thrane at 1:01 https://youtu.be/LL-PCRc1wyI?t=1m1s