Town Hall Meeting on “Gravitational Wave Theory and Simulations in the Era of Detections”

Dear Members of the Division of Gravitational Physics of the American Physical Society:

Gravitational wave astronomy is finally a reality. As a community, we should strive to make the best of the wealth of data that will be collected in the next few years. The first multi-messenger observation of a binary neutron star merger (GW170817) was one of the biggest science stories of 2017, and binary black hole detections are becoming routine. However there is still a lot of work needed to coordinate the efforts of instrumentalists, data analysts, astrophysicists and gravitational theorists.

For this reason, Beverly Berger and Manuela Campanelli proposed to organize a Town Hall Meeting on “Gravitational Wave Theory and Simulations in the Era of Detections” at the upcoming APS April Meeting in Columbus, OH. The Town Hall Meeting will be sponsored by DGRAV and co-sponsored by DAP, and is expected to take place after the DGRAV business meeting.

The idea is to begin a conversation to identify the theory and simulations most needed to exploit expected gravitational wave detections by LIGO and Virgo in the next two science runs, O3 and O4. Possible discussion topics include the end state of binary neutron star (or neutron star/black hole) mergers, tests of general relativity, black hole spectroscopy, compact object spins, extracting information about the neutron star equation of state, and so on.

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration will present the anticipated evolution of noise power spectral densities in the next few years, together with the signals that were already detected. We will discuss implications of improvements to theory and simulations, as well as the impact that sensitivity improvements will have on theory and simulations (what might be ruled out or in? what new research topics should be prioritized?)

The goal is to identify a reasonably complete list of theory and simulation research topics that might inform (and be informed by) gravitational wave events detected in O3 and O4.

We would like to call for contributed papers from the LSC, theory, and simulation communities on research that might be relevant to this Town Hall Meeting, providing the opportunity for a short (1-3 minute!) summary slide for each presenter at the Town Hall Meeting. Please email Emanuele Berti ( and Beverly Berger ( if you have submitted, or plan to submit, a Town Hall-related abstract.

Happy holiday season, and see you in Columbus.

Emanuele Berti, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Gravitational Physics