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Using Gravitational Waves to Measure the Expansion of the Universe

5. Notable Gravitational Wave Detections

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In this mini-lecture, we discuss some of the notable gravitational wave detections made in the third observing run of LIGO and Virgo since April 2019. In particular, we consider: (i) systems created to keep astronomers and the general public informed on the latest candidate gravitational wave detections, for example through an app called Chirp; (ii) the detection of a neutron star binary announced in January 2020; (iii) the first possible detection of a black hole merger involving two black holes of very different masses (~9x different) in August 2019; (iv) a similar detection of two black holes with masses differing by ~3x in April 2019; (v) the most massive black hole merger observed to date in May 2019; (vi) the image of a supermassive blackhole captured in 2019 by the Event Horizon Telescope; (vii) stellar-mass black holes vs. supermassive black holes; and (viii) neutron star and black hole mergers.


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.

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APA style

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

MLA style

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

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