Exploring the Cosmos — Texas Tech’s Gravitational Wave Research

Larry Anders
2 min readAug 22, 2023

A longtime financial services professional, Larry Anders spent 12 years on the Texas Tech University Board of Regents and served as the university system’s chairman. Larry Anders also studied at Texas Tech, which offers more than 150 degree programs.

The Texas Tech Department of Physics and Astronomy has added significantly to our knowledge of the universe. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, space is actually curved. One way scientists perceive the curvature of space is the existence of gravitational waves, which can be thought of as ripples in the cosmos.

Texas Tech is a member of a consortium called NANOGrav, which studies pulsars (the remnants of large stars that have imploded near the end of their life cycle). Pulsars emit radio waves and rotate at high speed, and these waves pulse by the Earth at regular intervals. The pulses can be thought of as markers for a gravitational wave.

Until recently, we have only been able to measure gravitation waves that undulate very quickly. But recent NANOGrav research has revealed another type of gravitational wave that takes years to move back and forth. These slow waves were previously too subtle to detect, but new observations make it possible to measure them. They are believed to be caused by supermassive black holes orbiting each other.

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Larry Anders
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Larry Anders — Summit Alliance Financial Chairman and CEO