On April 24 - 26, 2003, a group of researchers from around the world gathered at the University of Maryland's Inn and Conference Center for the workshop ``The Astrophysics of Gravitational Wave Sources." The speakers and attendees represented a broad range of areas within physics and astrophysics: general relativity; optical, X-ray, and G-ray astronomy; theoretical astrophysics; gravitational wave detection; and data analysis. The talks and discussions were stimulating and informative, covering diverse areas of this growing field. In fact, the workshop provided an opportunity for many of those present to meet and interact with each other for the first time.
The meeting began with an overview of gravitational wave sources. This was followed by a presentation on gravitational wave detectors and detection circa 2012, which is the time frame in which the advanced ground-based detectors (probing high frequency sources) and LISA (observing low frequency sources) should be operating. Most of the remaining of the talks focused on the astrophysics of anticipated gravitational wave sources and the scenarios that surround them, including collapses, binaries, and gamma-ray bursts. Black holes - ranging from stellar, to intermediate mass, to supermassive - figured prominently in many presentations. Talks on data analysis and detection, including a report on the recent S1 run of LIGO/GEO, rounded out the program. Electronic versions of many of the workshop presentations can be found online at
These are exciting times. LIGO has just completed its second
scientific data-taking run (S2), and plans for advanced ground-based
detectors are in progress. The space-based LISA is moving forward
strongly as a partnership between NASA and ESA. Gravitational wave
astrophysics is a stimulating and fruitful area of interaction for
researchers from diverse areas of physics and astrophysics. The
presentations at this workshop provided snapshots of this emerging
field today, and glimpses of the scientific excitement to come.