This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, researchers from UK universities in Glasgow, Birmingham, and Cardiff will discuss their ongoing efforts to observe and measure cosmic gravitational waves for scientific research at the Science Media Centre in London starting 3pm GMT on Thursday, 11 February.
Simultaneously in the US, the National Science Foundation is gathering scientists from Caltech, MIT, and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves — or ripples in the fabric of spacetime — using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).
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.