More than 900 people are working to achieve what Einstein thought impossible: Detection of gravitational waves from cataclysmic events billions of light years away. Until now, we've been deaf to our Universe. We're about to turn on our ears. (Complete Coverage)
In 1915 Albert Einstein proposed the General Theory of Relativity. The theory suggests that accelerating masses will cause distortions in space-time to propagate across the universe at the speed of light. In 1989, physicists proposed the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. Funded by the National Science Foundation and managed by CalTech and MIT, LIGO is composed of two interconnected observatories – one in Louisiana, the other in Washington State.
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) are scientific instruments which use two and a half mile-long laser beams to detect cataclysmic cosmic events which occurred trillions of miles from Earth. Once the stuff of science fiction, this is now science fact.
This NSF funded project opens a revolutionary new window on our understanding of the universe. LIGO probes some of the most violent and energetic phenomena in the cosmos–from supernovae to binary neutron star systems which coalesce into black holes.
As a frontier physics effort, a core mission of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration is to inspire interest among students in astronomy and fundamental science. As many learners are intimidated by science, the underlying function of LIGO and the life of the scientist may seem nearly impossible to understand, let alone connect to at a practical level.
However, this chasm between the student and the scientist can be bridged.
A Passion for Understanding delivers the real science of this advanced technology in such a way that the general public will not only understand its function, but also recognize the significance of the potential findings. Passion for Understanding shares the raw enthusiasm and excitement of those scientists and researchers who have dedicated their professional careers to this immense undertaking.