# I study what happens when two black holes smash together and then try to understand what the gravitational wave signal from such an event would look like.

## Dr. Barry Wardell

### Research Associate, Dept of Astronomy

#### What exactly does your work involve?

I study Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. My research focuses on gravitational waves – ripples in space and time which were predicted by Einstein nearly 100 years ago. Gravitational waves are so weak that our only hope of detecting them is by studying the most energetic events in the universe. I study what happens when two black holes collide and use computer simulations and mathematical calculations to understand what the gravitational wave signal from such an event would look like.

Gravitational waves are so weak that our only hope of detecting them is by studying the most energetic events in the universe.

#### That sounds pretty exciting!

Yeah, it’s at the leading edge of our understanding of how the universe works. As a researcher I am always moving from academic institution to academic institution, each time finding new projects to work on.

#### How did you decide on a career in science?

I have always been interested in science and mathematics but it was only once I started at university that I realised that studying theoretical physics is what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the challenge of solving difficult mathematical problems and understanding how the world around us works.

#### What’s the most exciting development happening in your field at the moment?

We are nearing completion of a gravitational wave telescope, which, in a couple of years, will achieve the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves.