You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or sign in to view the full course.

Using Gravitational Waves to Measure the Expansion of the Universe

1. Detecting Gravitational Waves

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or sign in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this mini-lecture, we introduce the theory that predicts gravitational waves and the technology developed nearly 100 years later to detect this phenomenon. As we move through this mini-lecture, we consider: (i) gravity, spacetime curvature, and matter as described in Einstein’s theory of gravity, which predicted gravitational waves in 1916; (ii) gravitational waves, which are ripples in spacetime from the movement of massive bodies and are very weak once they reach Earth; (iii) the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project detectors that can measure the extremely tiny disturbances in spacetime made by gravitational waves; (iv) the program to update the LIGO detectors (aided by new technology developed by the University of Glasgow); (v) the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015; and (vi) the subsequent Nobel Prize in Physics awarded in 2017 for this detection.


In this course, Professor Martin Hendry (University of Glasgow) discusses how we can use gravitational wave detections to help us refine our measurement of the expansion rate of the Universe. In the first mini-lecture, we introduce gravitational waves, first as a prediction made by Einstein in his theory of gravity and then as an observation made nearly 100 years later with the LIGO interferometer detectors. In the second mini-lecture, we discuss Edwin Hubble’s work that led to the discovery of the expansion of the Universe and how his work has been extended in more recent times. In the third mini-lecture, we discuss how gravitational waves can be used to help us find the expansion rate of the Universe, and in the fourth mini-lecture, we look at a specific event, GW 170817, that allowed us to make the first measurement of the Universe’s expansion rate using gravitational waves. In the fifth mini-lecture, we consider some notable gravitational wave detections and what the future holds.


Martin Hendry is a Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Glasgow. His primary research interests lie in gravitational wave astronomy, statistical methods for the analysis of astrophysical and cosmological data sets, and applications of gravitational lensing. He is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), which has been awarded the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics, the Physics World Breakthrough of the Year for 2016 and 2017, and the President's Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He serves as the chair of LSC Education and Public Outreach group and is the co-chair of the Advocacy and Outreach Group of the recently established International LISA Consortium. Professor Hendry is also an elected follow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP), serving as chair of the IOP in Scotland from 2015-2017. In 2010, he was invited by Learning and Teaching Scotland to join the Maths Excellence Group and Physics Qualifications Design Team for the Curriculum for Excellence, where he helped to redesign the high school physics curriculum in Scotland. He has won various awards in public outreach, including the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Senior Prize for public engagement.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hendry, M. (2022, January 14). Using Gravitational Waves to Measure the Expansion of the Universe - Detecting Gravitational Waves [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hendry, Martin. "Using Gravitational Waves to Measure the Expansion of the Universe – Detecting Gravitational Waves." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Jan 2022,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures