Abstract: The dawn of gravitational wave astronomy is fast approaching. With Advanced LIGO coming online in 2015, and Pulsar Timing Arrays already placing interesting astrophysical limits on black hole merger rates, the first direct detection of gravitational waves is imminent. But what are these waves, and how do we know they’re there? In this talk I will give a pedagogical introduction to gravitational wave astronomy. Splitting the talk into 3 parts, I will answer a number of frequently asked questions:
1) What are gravitational waves? How are we trying to detect them? When do we expect the first detections?
2) What can we learn about the Universe from gravitational wave astronomy? What can gravitational wave astronomy do for my research?
3) What contributions are Australian researchers making to gravitational wave astronomy?