Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity

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Session 68 -- Invited Talk
Oral presentation, Thursday, 2, 1994, 11:40-12:30

[68.01] Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity

J. H. Taylor (Princeton University)

Radio pulsars in gravitationally bound binary systems provide unique opportunities for high-precision tests of the fundamental nature of gravity. In his accompanying talk, Russell Hulse describes our 1974 discovery of the first binary pulsar. More than forty more have been found since then, and accurate timing measurements extending over many years are available for most of them. I review the results of such work, with special emphasis on those pulsars for which general relativity plays a direct role. Among the more important results are a surprisingly small range of observed neutron-star masses, clustered near the Chandrasekhar limit, and experimental confirmation of the existence, quadrupolar nature, and propagation speed of gravitational waves.

Thursday program listing