Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

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The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is leading the way in the new and exciting field of gravitational-wave astrophysics through the direct detection of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. LIGO’s multi-kilometer-scale gravitational wave detectors use laser interferometry to measure the minute ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by passing gravitational waves from cataclysmic cosmic sources, such as the mergers of pairs of neutron stars or black holes. LIGO consists of two widely separated detectors within the United States, in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana.

LIGO is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is aided by collaborators from the over 80 scientific institutions world-wide that are members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC).

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three key players in the development and ultimate success of LIGO.