Successful completion of the Advanced LIGO Construction Project

Thursday, April 2, 2015

In 2008, the Advanced LIGO Construction Project began with the goal of building new LIGO interferometers capable of detecting many gravitational wave events per year. After seven very intense years of building and testing the interferometers, the Advanced LIGO Construction Project has formally completed, on time and on budget. On Tuesday, the LIGO laboratory Directorate accepted the recommendations of the Advanced LIGO Project Management Team and the System Acceptance Review Team to turn the Hanford and Livingston interferometers over to LIGO Operations. The LIGO Team at UM would like to express heartfelt thanks to all LIGO Lab and LIGO Scientific Collaboration colleagues who have worked so hard to make Advanced LIGO a reality. The success of aLIGO to date is a remarkable accomplishment and a major milestone for our field. The next few years will no doubt be quite exciting!

Blue Apple Award for Hector Okada da Silva

Saturday, February 28, 2015

University of Mississippi graduate student Hector Okada da Silva got a Blue Apple Award for the best student talk at the 8th Gulf Coast Gravity Meeting. Here is proof (including the apple itself and a Florida alligator in the role that was of Newton).

Congratulations, Hector!


New paper in Physical Review Letters

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our paper Effective Potentials and Morphological Transitions for Binary Black Hole Spin Precession was published today in Physical Review Letters. The paper provides new analytical understanding of the dynamics of binary black hole systems: we found a new way to understand the precession of the black hole spins and of the orbital angular momentum, and we showed how binaries have phase transitions between different “precessional states”. Two follow-up papers are in preparation.

The lead author of this paper (Mike Kesden) just received a prestigious Sloan Fellowship, an award reserved to “the most promising scientific researchers working today”. Davide Gerosa (formerly a student at Ole Miss, now in Cambridge) won the best poster award at the conference Compact Objects as Astrophysical and Gravitational Probes for a poster based on this paper.

See articles on the Ole Miss website, UT Dallas website, University of Cambridge website, Science Daily,, Media INAF (in Italian), Astroblogs (in Dutch), RIA (in Russian), Daily News (India), Science World Report, Tech Times, SpaceRef, Space Daily, ECN, R&D, The Daily Galaxy

Swamps, Simulations and Mad Drone Skills: Filming ‘LIGO: Generations’

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Read the story behind the production of LIGO Generations on “Swamps, Simulations and Mad Drone Skills” by film director Kai Staats.

Ask Them Anything: The Hunt for Gravitational Waves

Monday, February 9, 2015

In conjunction with the launch of the documentary film “LIGO Generations” on, The LIGO Scientific Collaboration is hosting an interactive Ask Me Anything (AMA) session at, featuring members of the UM-LIGO group. In addition to LIGO researchers, AMA participants will also meet Kai Staats, the filmmaker who produced “LIGO Generations” and its predecessor, “LIGO: A Passion for Understanding.”

To participate, create an account at (takes only a few seconds) and visit the site Friday to post your questions. See for more details on the event.

When: Friday, February 13, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST / -5 GMT