Gravitational waves in space: Science with LISA
The birth of gravitational wave astronomy in 2015 has brought fresh insights into black holes, neutron stars and cosmology. The next challenge is to put a gravitational wave detector into space. There, free from the seismic noise of the Earth, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will detect the rumblings of supermassive black holes in the millihertz band.
In this talk I will review the science goals of LISA. In particular, I will focus on Extreme Mass-Ratio Inspirals (EMRIs), in which a compact object spirals into a supermassive black hole. The challenge on the theory side is to accurately model a highly-eccentric inspiral over 10,000 orbital cycles with an overall phase error of less than one radian. I will introduce the Gravitational Self-Force methodology, and recent advances in modelling such systems. Finally, I will outline my recent work on black hole perturbation theory, and its place in the jigsaw.