About the LSC
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) is a group of scientists focused on the direct detection of gravitational waves, using them to explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and developing the emerging field of gravitational wave science as a tool of astronomical discovery. The LSC works toward this goal through research on, and development of techniques for, gravitational wave detection; and the development, commissioning and exploitation of gravitational wave detectors.
The LSC carries out the science of the LIGO Observatories, located in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana as well as that of the GEO600 detector in Hannover, Germany. Our collaboration is organized around three general areas of research: analysis of LIGO and GEO data searching for gravitational waves from astrophysical sources, detector operations and characterization, and development of future large scale gravitational wave detectors.
Founded in 1997, the LSC is currently made up of more than 1000 scientists from over 100 institutions and 18 countries worldwide. A list of the participating universities.
The LIGO Observatory
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) consists of two widely separated installations within the United States -- one in Hanford Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana -- operated in unison as a single observatory. LIGO is operated by the LIGO Laboratory, a consortium of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Funded by the National Science Foundation, LIGO is an international resource for both physics and astrophysics.
The LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA (LVK) Collaboration
The nature of gravitational-wave astronomy makes cooperation essential. Multiple gravitational-wave detectors working together allow for increased confidence in the signals we detect, increased sensitivity to weaker or farther sources, and more precise measurement of the source parameters (especially the sky position). In addition to the twin LIGO observatories, there are two other large-scale Michelson interferometers that are currently sensitive to gravitational-waves: Virgo and KAGRA. The Virgo detector is a 3 km interferometer in Cascina, Italy; it is operated by the European Gravitational Observatory and funded by INFN (Italy), CNRS (France) and Nikhef (Netherlands). The KAGRA observatory is an underground 3 km inteferometer in Kamioka, Japan; it is operated by ICRR, KEK and NAOJ and funded by MEXT (Japan). The building, operation, and development of Virgo and Kagra are managed by the Virgo Collaboration and the KAGRA Collaboration, respectively.
The LSC and the Virgo Collaboration have been carrying out joint analyses of available data sets and co-authoring observational result papers since 2010. Beginning in 2021, the KAGRA Collaboration is also co-authoring observational results from the second half of the O3 run and onward. Together, these three entities comprise the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA Collaboration (or LVK Collaboration for short). For information on how to cite papers by the LVK Collaboration (or the earlier LIGO-Virgo Collaboration), please see the Brief Guide to Citing the LIGO–Virgo–KAGRA Collaboration.
Join the LSC
Institutions interested in joining the LIGO Scientific Collaboration should contact the LSC Spokesperson. Prospective members must arrange an MOU with LIGO Laboratory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and present their proposed collaborative program at an LSC meeting. New memberships are approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the LSC Council.
New members, please check The LSC Beginner's Guide for helpful information on first steps after joining the Collaboration.
LSC's Commitment to Diversity
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.
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration recognizes the challenges faced by scientists who belong to underrepresented groups. We celebrate the contributions made to the LVC's achievements by physicists, astronomers, engineers, detector operators, students, and staff who identify as women, transgender, non-gender-binary, intersex, and/or gender-diverse.
We also pledge to work to increase the numbers of women and under-represented minorities that actively participate in the LVC, 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.
LSC Speakers Board
The LSC Speakers Board strives to equitably distribute speaking requests to appropriate members of the LSC. If you are looking for a speaker for your conference or other event to talk about LIGO or LSC results, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone will get back to you promptly.
At a glance
Interactive map of LSC institutions.
(As of May 2021)
Total members: 1400+
Total institutions: 127
Countries represented: 19
Founded in: 1997
Detection of gravitational waves (GW)
Use GW to explore fundamental physics of gravity
Develop GW observations as a tool of astronomical discovery
Areas of research:
Analysis of GW search data
Detector operations and characterization
Development of future large-scale GW detectors
Funded by: Public and private sources
Governed by: The Collaboration Council
Spokesperson: Prof. Patrick Brady, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
To learn more about the priorities and plans of the LSC's Science Program, see the LSC Program document: