Prof Bence Kocsis - Searching for the origin of black hole mergers in the Universe with gravitational waves
The direct detection of gravitational waves by LIGO and VIRGO and pulsar timing arrays has recently opened a new window to observe the Universe. We can now detect objects which are completely invisible in traditional electromagnetic surveys including black holes and possibly dark matter. The observations show a very frequent rate of black hole mergers in the Universe with unexpected properties. In this talk I will review the astrophysical processes that may be responsible for the formation of the observed events. I will show that the standard astrophysical merger pathways are already in tension with LIGO/VIRGO observations. New ideas may be needed to explain the origin of the detected sources. I will discuss several exotic possibilities including the hypothesis that if dark matter is in part made up of black holes in galaxies they may contribute to the observed events or the possibility that stellar mass black holes may be teeming around supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies, which may be a possible sight to produce gravitational wave events.