We have detected gravitational waves. We did it! (*)

Friday, February 12, 2016

(*) Courtesy of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration.

Kudos to current and past members of the University of Mississippi LIGO Team who helped achieve this momentous result.

Undergraduate students:

Jefferey Atkinson
Daniel Duddleston
Hunter Gabbard
Jared Wofford

Graduate students:

Mohammad (Reza) Afrough
Cody Arceneaux
Jericho Cain
Jun-Qi Guo
Brooke Rankins
John Rock

Post-doctoral researchers:

Alexander Dietz
Shivaraj Kandhasamy
Jocelyn Read

Visiting Scholars:

Martina Adamo
Fabrizia Canfora
Olmo Cerri
Domizia Chericoni
Camillo Cocchieri
Enrico Petrillo
Michele Mancarella
Alessandro Manzotti
Giovanni Rabuffo
Laura Torino
Daniele Trifiro
Michele Valentini


Vitor Cardoso
Marco Cavaglia
Katherine Dooley


Physics Viewpoint: LIGO hears merging black holes

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Today Physical Review Letters published a historical paper by the LIGO/Virgo Scientific Collaboration reporting the first detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes. The American Physical Society (APS) asked Emanuele to write a Physics Viewpoint article on this breakthrough event in gravitational physics.

Physics provides daily online-only news and commentary about a selection of papers from the APS journal collection. The website is aimed at the reader who wants to keep up with highlights of physics research with explanations that don’t rely on jargon and technical detail. Viewpoints are commentaries on papers written by prominent experts in their field for an audience with a college-level background in physics.

Scientists to provide update on the search for gravitational waves

Monday, February 8, 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.

University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff, as well as science enthusiasts from the Oxford community, are invited to join a live viewing event at the auditorium of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on Thursday, February 11, 9:30 a.m., as the National Science Foundation brings together scientists from Caltech, MIT, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves – or ripples in the fabric of space time.

The live broadcast will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Lewis Hall, Rm. 101, preceded by a brief introduction by Dr. Lucien Cremaldi, Chair and Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Doors will open at 9:00 a.m.

As a follow-up to this event, on February 16, at 4:00 p.m., Dr. Katherine Dooley, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Dr. Marco Cavaglià, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, both members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, will host a Q&A session about the latest LIGO research at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and a Science Cafe’ at Lusa Bakery Bistro and Bar, 1120 North Lamar Blvd, Oxford at 6:00 p.m. Local press representatives are invited to these event. An evening public lecture is being planned for later in February. More details about these events will be posted on the website of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Oxford Science Cafe’ website as they become available. A special exhibit about LIGO will be on display in the lobby of the Student Union through the end of February.

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. The University of Mississippi has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2007.

LISA Pathfinder en route to L1

Monday, December 14, 2015

LISA Pathfinder, the technology demonstration mission for the space-based gravitational-wave interferometer eLISA, was successfully launched on December 3. The launch was followed by six orbit-raising manoeuvres, the last of which was completed this past weekend, marking the formal end of the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), and the start of approximately three months of commissioning. Pathfinder is now “en route to nothing”, traveling to a virtual point in space called the Sun-Earth Libration Point 1 (SEL1), 1.5 million km from Earth. For more info, see the LISA Pathfinder website and the ESA blog. Godspeed!

Topical Review on Tests of General Relativity

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Topical Review Testing general relativity with present and future astrophysical observations was published today in Classical and Quantum Gravity. The idea to write this review was born in January 2014 during a workshop at the University of Mississippi. It took about one year to write the paper - a first version appeared on the arXiv in January 2015 - and almost one year to get it through refereeing and proofs, but we finally made it. Hopefully this review will be helpful to the community working on compact objects and experimental tests of strong gravity.

Leo Stein’s website has the numbers of this monster.