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Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years after Einstein's General Relativity

11 February 2016 -- For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9:51 a.m. UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO600 Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

Media Advisory

8 February 2016 -- 100 years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, the National Science Foundation gathers scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration to update the scientific community on efforts to detect them.

(Washington, DC) -- Journalists are invited to join the National Science Foundation as it brings together the scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) this Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the National Press Club for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves - or ripples in the fabric of spacetime - using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein's prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, the group will discuss their ongoing efforts to observe gravitational waves.

LIGO, a system of two identical detectors carefully constructed to detect incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves, was conceived and built by MIT and Caltech researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation, with significant contributions from other U.S. and international partners. The twin detectors are located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. Research and analysis of data from the detectors is carried out by a global group of scientists, including the LSC, which includes the GEO600 Collaboration, and the VIRGO Collaboration.

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, 10:30 AM US EST

WHERE: The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

MEDIA RSVP: Seating is extremely limited, but an overflow room will be available where reporters can still ask questions and have access to additional subject matters to interview after the press conference. Only the first 50 journalists to arrive will be seated in the main room. All interested journalists should RSVP to any of the media contacts listed below to ensure press credentials are prepared ahead of time. A mult box will be available for broadcast media, and the Press Club is equipped with wireless access.

LIVE WEBCAST: For press not based in the Washington, D.C. area, this event will be simulcast live online, and we will try to answer some questions submitted remotely. For details about how to participate remotely, please contact anyone listed below.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Caltech/Tom Waldman, (626) 395-5832 or (818) 274-2729 [m]; twaldman@caltech.edu
MIT/Kimberly Allen, (617) 253-2702 or (617) 852-6094 [m]; allenkc@mit.edu
NSF/Ivy Kupec, (703) 292-8796 or (703) 225-8216 [m]; ikupec@nsf.gov

LSC Statement on Harassment

16 January 2016 -- There have been recent reports of harassment involving LIGO Scientific Collaboration members, specifically involving a Caltech faculty member and a student. That faculty member is no longer a member of the LSC. As a collaboration, we will not tolerate harassment and strive to provide a supportive environment for all members of our collaboration. We practice the principles enshrined in the LSC Diversity Statement, with guidelines in https://dcc.ligo.org/LIGO-M1400285/public:

"As members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, we recognize the importance of diversity to enrich our research and scholarship. We pledge to provide a welcoming, inclusive environment to talented individuals regardless of characteristics such as, but not limited to, physical ability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or personal religious practices, and to support the professional growth of all collaboration members.

We also pledge to work to increase the numbers of women and under-represented minorities that actively participate in the LSC, to pursue recruitment, mentoring, retention and promotion of women and under-represented minority scientists and engineers and to maximize their contribution to excellence in our research. As a collaboration, we will strive to create a professional climate that encourages inclusion and that respects and values diversity."

Media Advisory: Scientists to provide update on the search for gravitational waves

8 February 2016 -- 100 years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, the National Science Foundation gathers scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration to update the scientific community on efforts to detect them.

(Washington, DC) -- Journalists are invited to join the National Science Foundation as it brings together the scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) this Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the National Press Club for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves - or ripples in the fabric of spacetime - using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein's prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, the group will discuss their ongoing efforts to observe gravitational waves.

LIGO, a system of two identical detectors carefully constructed to detect incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves, was conceived and built by MIT and Caltech researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation, with significant contributions from other U.S. and international partners. The twin detectors are located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. Research and analysis of data from the detectors is carried out by a global group of scientists, including the LSC, which includes the GEO600 Collaboration, and the VIRGO Collaboration.

When: Thursday, Feb 11, 2016, 10:30 AM US EST

Where: The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, 529 14th St NW, 13th floor, Washington, DC 20045

Media RSVP: Seating is extremely limited, but an overflow room will be available where reporters can still ask questions and have access to additional subject matters to interview after the press conference. Only the first 50 journalists to arrive will be seated in the main room. All interested journalists should RSVP to any of the media contacts listed below to ensure press credentials are prepared ahead of time. A mult box will be available for broadcast media, and the Press Club is equipped with wireless access.

Live webcast: For press not based in the Washington, D.C. area, this event will be simulcast live online, and we will try to answer some questions submitted remotely. For details about how to participate remotely, please contact anyone listed below.

Media contacts:

Caltech/Tom Waldman, (626) 395-5832 or (818) 274-2729 [m]; twaldman@caltech.edu
MIT/Kimberly Allen, (617) 253-2702 or (617) 852-6094 [m]; allenkc@mit.edu
NSF/Ivy Kupec, (703) 292-8796 or (703) 225-8216 [m]; ikupec@nsf.gov

LSC Statement on Harassment

16 January 2016 -- There have been recent reports of harassment involving LIGO Scientific Collaboration members, specifically involving a Caltech faculty member and a student. That faculty member is no longer a member of the LSC. As a collaboration, we will not tolerate harassment and strive to provide a supportive environment for all members of our collaboration. We practice the principles enshrined in the LSC Diversity Statement, with guidelines in https://dcc.ligo.org/LIGO-M1400285/public:

"As members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, we recognize the importance of diversity to enrich our research and scholarship. We pledge to provide a welcoming, inclusive environment to talented individuals regardless of characteristics such as, but not limited to, physical ability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or personal religious practices, and to support the professional growth of all collaboration members.

We also pledge to work to increase the numbers of women and under-represented minorities that actively participate in the LSC, to pursue recruitment, mentoring, retention and promotion of women and under-represented minority scientists and engineers and to maximize their contribution to excellence in our research. As a collaboration, we will strive to create a professional climate that encourages inclusion and that respects and values diversity."

First Observing Run of LIGO's Advanced Detectors Ends

12 January 2016 -- LIGO's first Observing Run, or O1, has ended today. The run started on September 18, 2015. During these 4 months, the detectors at Hanford and Livingston have been collecting data at a sensitivity that's not yet at its peak but nevertheless is about 4 times higher than before the Advanced LIGO upgrade. LIGO plans to have a number of subsequent observing runs, while continuing to further improve the sensitivity of its instruments before each run. Upgrades will resume between now and the beginning of the second observing run (O2), scheduled to start later this year and to last about 6 months. The O2 will be followed by another round of upgrades and yet another observing run. A partner European project, Advanced Virgo, which is also undergoing an upgrade, is scheduled to join Advanced LIGO in a joint observing run later this year. Both instruments are planned to be observing at full sensitivity by 2021. Read more

"Gravitational Waves" Hangout 20 November, 2015

20 November 2015 -- Watch LSC's Joey Shapiro Key (Univ of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and Shane Larson (Northwestern) discuss the science and technology behind gravitational waves and the instruments used to observe them. This Google hangout was organized by the American Astronomical Society (event's announcement page on the AAS website). Watch the video to find out how and why we try to detect gravitational waves:

"A New Ear on the Universe:" A BBC radio show about LIGO

26 September 2015 -- LIGO was profiled in the BBC World Services Radio "A New Ear on the Universe," on September 26, 2015. Download podcast at the show's website or visit the The Documentary website.

First Observing Run of LIGO's Advanced Detectors begins

18 September 2015 -- The first Observing Run of Advanced LIGO, called O1, started on September 18, 2015. During the run, the LIGO detectors in Hanford and Livingston will be simultaneously collecting data. The run is planned to last three months. It will provide LIGO researchers with long-awaited new data to continue their quest to directly detect cosmic gravitational waves. Already three times more sensitive than initial LIGO, the Advanced LIGO detectors will be fine-tuned in the next months to increase the sensitivity 10 times compared with the initial LIGO. This will allow the scientists to detect gravitational waves generated as far away as several hundred millions of light years.

Read more about LIGO's first Observing Run on the LIGO Lab website.

LIGO Lab and LSC release strain data from Science Run S6

June 2015 -- The LIGO Laboratory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) are pleased to announce the public release of strain data taken by the project's two gravitational wave detectors during LIGO's sixth science run (S6) that occurred from July 2009 through October 2010. This release follows the release of the LIGO S5 data in August 2014.

Read more about the S6 data release.

Dedication of Advanced LIGO

19 May 2015 -- The Advanced LIGO Project, a major upgrade that will increase the sensitivity of the LIGO instruments by a factor of 10 and provide a 1,000-fold increase in the number of astrophysical candidates for gravitational wave signals, was officially dedicated in a ceremony held at the LIGO Hanford facility in Richland, Washington. See more at Caltech News.

Ask Them Anything: LSC's interactive AMA session on reddit

13 February 2015 -- In conjunction with the launch of the documentary film "LIGO Generations" on Space.com, the LSC hosted an interactive Ask Me Anything (AMA) session at reddit.com. Read questions and answers at LIGO's We're Scientists of LIGO Reddit page.

LIGO Generations: A New Documentary about LIGO

30 January 2015 - Kai Staats, the filmmaker behind "LIGO, A Passion for Understanding" documentary, has released a new documentary about LIGO titled "LIGO Generations." This new film shows how scientists bridge the gap between the special language of astrophysics and bright young students. Watch the 25-min movie.

Older news

aLIGO Dedication

A photo of mirror installation at LIGO

Researchers installing some of the small suspended LIGO mirrors in the vacuum system. Image credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab.

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