Friday, February 12, 2016

Gravitational Waves Have Been Found!!!

I am so thankful that I can write this post. I started research in 2001 in Edward Seidel's group at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. I was 18. My brother was concomitantly starting his PhD at Caltech with Kip Thorne. LIGO had just turned on, and we were expecting gravitational waves to be detected soon.  Everyone was so excited. I was 19 when I first visited Mihai and attended one of Kip Thorne's group meetings.  I am 33 now, and I have finally watched the first detection happen. 

The first few hours
Andy is LIGO's Detector Characterization chair. His job is to understand both the detector and the data it produces. His first day on the job was when the detection happened. He and another colleague from the Albert Einstein Institute in Hanover were the first to see this beautiful event, and Andy convinced the collaboration that it was real and not a lightning strike or some motorcycle driving by.

Disclaimer: The instrument and the detection are, of course, the product of the whole collaboration. I and the rest of world are proud of them, and I am proud to have once been part of LIGO.

PS. Members of the LIGO collaboration have been answering questions from the public on Both the questions and the answers are awesome. Some even mention time travel and fighting ducks. 

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