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Sarah Burke-Spolaor
Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy
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Talks and Media

Black hole binaries/Multi-messenger astronomy

AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting, "Astrophysics Opens a New Era" (February 2017)
(public-level discussion)
This is a press briefing in which Takaaki Kajita, Stefano Vitale, and I summarize the dawning era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy across the gravitational wave spectrum. My summary of gravitational-wave astrophysics and the use of Pulsar Timing Arrays begins at about 9:20.

Cajagwr Seminar Series, "MULTI-MESSENGER MONSTERS!" (October 2016)
(more technical)
This is a talk given at Caltech primarily to a gravitational-wave-focused audience. It describes some of my work in gravitational wave astrophysics: specifically, using gravitational wave limits from pulsar timing arrays to infer the properties of galaxy/black hole mass relations, and it describes a few of my radio-wavelength programs to observe targets that might contain actively orbiting supermassive black hole binaries.

*Incidentally, I have given black hole talks in other outfits, although I seem to lack videographic proof for it!

Fast Radio Bursts / Radio Transients

AAS 2017 Press Conference, "Closing in on a Fast Radio Burst" (January 2017)

(Video cannot be embedded; click the link above or the image below). This press conference summarizes the discovery, excitement, and impacts of our Realfast system's first localization of a Fast Radio Burst source to a distant host galaxy.

AAS FRB press conference 2017

Harvard Sackler Conference, "Overviews of Fast Radio Bursts" (May 2016)
This talk gives an overview (as of 2016) of the detections of, detection efforts for, hypotheses of, and potential cosmology possible with Fast Radio Bursts.


SETI Institute Colloquium, "On the road to extragalactic transient discovery" (March 2013)
This talk discusses past pitfalls and advances in the highly dynamic field of radio transient searching. Although it provides a severely outdated review of transient science, I like this talk because it sets an interesting historical context in the early days of Fast Radio Bursts: after we had detected Perytons (which turned out to be on-site microwave ovens), and before we made conclusive confirmations of genuine extragalactic pulses. This talk sets the context for Fast Radio Bursts at the time, and presents search efforts the High Time Resolution Universe survey (at Parkes Telescope) and the commensal V-Fastr survey (at the Very Long Baseline Array).

Incidentally, although we had no doubt Perytons were Earth-based, we made one critical mistake in our interpretation; we had interpreted the frequency-dependent amplitude variations as due to multi-path propagation, which would have made them >4km from the telescope. The amplitude variations were, in fact, intrinsic. Only after an interference monitor was installed at Parkes was it discovered that new Peryton detections were only occurring simultaneously with a 2GHz outburst that is characteristic of microwave oven emission, as described in our follow-up paper.