Ripples in the Fabric of Spacetime: Searching for Gravitational Waves with LIGO
With Rick Savage, PhD, staff scientist, LIGO Hanford Observatory
Almost 100 years ago Albert Einstein invented General Relativity, his theory of gravity. One of its key predictions is the existence of gravitational waves that should propagate throughout the Universe carrying information about extreme events such as the coalescence of two black holes. Their existence has been confirmed indirectly, but they have not yet been directly observed. However, this might all be about to change.
In this talk, physicist Rick Savage will detail the efforts of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project to bring on-line the most sensitive gravitational-wave detectors ever constructed at their sister observatories located near Richland, WA and near Livingston, LA. Their goal is nothing short of opening a new window onto the Universe by the direct observation of the waveforms of gravitational waves, sometimes referred to as Einstein’s messengers.
Rick Savage is a Member of the Professional Staff at Caltech and a staff scientist at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Richland, WA. He completed his Ph.D. in Quantum Electronics at UCLA and has spent most of his professional career with the LIGO Project. He has been involved in most aspects of the design and construction of the LIGO observatories as well as the design and operation of the instruments they house. His work has focused on the ultra-stable laser systems and, more recently, on calibration methods using lasers. He enjoys life in the Northwest with his wife and Labrador retriever in West Richland, WA.
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