Second International LISA Symposium

Robin Stebbins, JILA, University of Colorado

The Second International LISA Symposium was held at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, 6-9 July 1998. The symposium featured sessions on astrophysical sources of gravitational waves detectable by an instrument like LISA, relevant technology, data analysis and updates on other detectors. The oral sessions are summarized below. Proceedings of the symposium will be published by the American Institute of Physics. Bill Folkner, the scientific and local organizing committees, and the supporting staff organized an action-packed symposium.

Charles Elachi (JPL) started off the overview session by citing the importance of LISA in the next decade and the importance of a joint ESA-NASA mission. Al Bunner (NASA) described selected and candidate missions in the Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU) program, and the decision-making process for selecting future missions. Rudiger Reinhard (ESA) described the status of LISA within ESA's scientific program and the potential for ELITE, a flight test of LISA technology. Kip Thorne (Caltech) surveyed the astrophysics and fundamental physics that will likely be learned from LISA, and is unlikely to be learned from other observations in the next 10 years. Karsten Danzmann (Hannover) compared and contrasted LISA and ground-based gravitational wave detectors. William Folkner (JPL) described the LISA mission concept, and Robin Stebbins (JILA) summarized LISA's operation and sensitivity.

In the first of two sessions on sources, the focus was massive black holes (MBHs) at cosmological distances. Roger Blandford (Caltech), Doug Richstone (Michigan, IAS), Martin Haehnelt (Cambridge) and Elihu Boldt (GSFC) described theoretical scenarios and observational evidence leading to estimates of MBH binary coalescence rates. Steinn Sigurdsson (Cambridge) surveyed the event rates for the inspiral of stellar remnants into MBHs. The second session on sources included talks by Omer Blaes (U.C. Santa Barbara), Sterl Phinney (Caltech), Ron Webbink (UIUC), Dieter Hils (JILA), and Craig Hogan (Washington). The topics ranged from what we can learn from X-ray sources to discussions of galactic binaries and possible primordial backgrounds.

There were three sessions on technology relevant to LISA. The first, with talks by David Robertson (Hannover), Paul McNamara (Glasgow), Michael Peterseim (Hannover), Martin Caldwell (RAL), Joe Giaime (JILA) and Joe Prestage (JPL), addressed topics in interferometry, optics and timing. In the second technology session, Manuel Rodrigues (ONERA) and Stefano Vitale (Trento) talked about inertial sensors. Sasha Buchman (Stanford) and Mac Keiser (Stanford) described relevant Gravity Probe B technologies, and Dan DeBra (Stanford) surveyed space missions which have used drag-free technology. Salvo Marcuccio (Centrospazio) and Michael Fehringer (Austrian Research Centre) described different technologies for micronewton thrusters. In the last technology session, R. Turner (RAL) and Mike Sandford (RAL) summarized structural, thermal and gravitational studies of the LISA baseline design. Yusuf Jafry (ESTEC), Mark Wiegand (Bremen), David Robertson (Hannover) and Michael Peterseim (Hannover) described the European LIsa TEchnology demonstration satellite (ELITE) mission concept.

Curt Cutler (AEI) and Alberto Vecchio (AEI) led the data analysis session by describing the angular resolution and astrophysical parameter determination of the LISA and OMEGA missions. Eric Poisson (Guelph) described hierarchical search strategies to identify the waveforms of stellar mass black holes spiraling into massive black holes. B. Sathyaprakash (Cardiff) examined a new method to generate improved waveforms for MBH binary inspirals, carry out an efficient search and extract source parameters. A. Sintes (AEI) described a scheme for removing coherent noise, and Alessandra Papa (AEI) described a pattern recognition scheme for identifying unexpected, but continuous gravitational wave signals. Finally, Massimo Tinto (JPL) presented a concept for improving the detection sensitivity of a one arm interferometer at selected Fourier components.

In a session on other gravitational wave detectors, the status of the LIGO, GEO, TAMA, VIRGO and resonant mass gravitational wave detectors was reported by David Shoemaker (MIT), Roland Schilling (MPI Garching), K. Tsubono (Tokyo), Luca Gammaitoni (Perugia) and E. Coccia (Rome), respectively. John Armstrong (JPL) reported on past and future sensitivity in spacecraft tracking experiments. O. Aguiar (INPE, Brazil) reported on the resonant bar program in Brazil.

Jorge Pullin
Mon Sep 7 17:37:02 EDT 1998