Astrophysics and Cosmology with Black Hole Mergers
Abstract: LIGO and Virgo have observed over 70 gravitational-wave sources to date, including mergers between black holes, neutron stars, and mixed neutron star- black holes. The origin of these merging neutron stars and black holes -- the most extreme objects in our Universe -- remains a mystery, with implications for stars, galaxies and cosmology. I will review the latest LIGO-Virgo discoveries and discuss some recent astrophysical lessons, including mass gaps, evolution with cosmic time, and implications for cosmology. I will conclude by discussing what we can expect to learn from future gravitational-wave and multi-messenger discoveries.