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  • LIGO Caltech News
    at Caltech was a delightful occasion for many of his campus colleagues and for those at LIGO in particular An informal lunch was given for the Professor at the Caltech Athenaeum where he was greeted and congratulated by many well wishing students and faculty Above Professor Masatoshi Koshiba and LIGO Director Barry Barish chat together in the Caltech Athenaeum To see a pdf version of Professor Koshiba s Caltech seminar click here And click here to visit the Nobel Prize web site pages describing the award given to Professor Koshiba Included are video streams of the award ceremony Professor Koshiba s Nobel lecture and an interview LIGOnauts Celebrate January Birthdays Contributed by Ryan Tischler Happy Birthday to all January born LIGOnauts And thanks to everyone who attended the first in our new Monthly Birthday Celebrations The turnout for this first fiesta was stellar The third floor Science Conference Room was stuffed to maximum capacity as jovial Irena Petrac lead us in a rousing Birthday song chorus A virtual hurricane was created as the January Birthday Bashers blew out the lone candle that sat atop a fabulous cake made by our very own Cindy Akutagawa She got crazily creative by using

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0302news/0302cit.html (2015-06-02)
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  • Advanced LIGO Proposers' Conference
    of the Advanced LIGO Seismic Isolation System SEI Eleven representatives from five companies attended Also present were representatives from LIGO Caltech Stanford University and Louisiana State University The group visited Stanford s End Station 2 facility to view the Advanced Seismic Isolation Technology Demonstrator SEI Tech Demo which is currently undergoing testing The SEI Tech Demo represents the baseline design for Advanced LIGO SEI mechanical structures to be improved on refined and completed in the course of this procurement Brian Lantz of Stanford led the tour and described the SEI Tech Demo s physical details and test results to date Our visitors expressed keen interest in Brian s presentation and especially in the physical configuration of the complex aluminum structure on display Presentations were also given explaining the LIGO program contract strategy science background of the Tech Demo design and design requirements for the SEI mechanical structures to be built with special emphasis on mass limits balancing and Finite Element Analysis modeling Viewing of the Tech Demo structure and the detailed presentations of the critical design requirements brought home once again the sizeable challenge of the design task at hand LIGO scientists Lantz and Joe Giaime are confident that the

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0305news/0305one.html (2015-06-02)
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  • Watson Lecture - Barry Barish on LIGO
    physics that would produce the first modification in centuries to Newton s mighty edifice and eventually come to revolutionize our entire understanding of the universe Einstein s General Theory of Relativity replaced the straight lines and Euclidean geometry of Newton s Universe with curved space rolling paths and arcs of light warps all caused by the massive objects nestled in the fabric of space A corollary of Einstein s theory was the concept of gravitational waves Any mass in space would produce curvature the more mass the more warp and the stronger the tug of its gravity Soon Einstein reasoned that accelerating masses would produce so called gravitational waves oscillating warps or ripples in the very fabric of space time that broadcast outwards from their source at light speed Infinitesimal in their long range effects these hypothesized waves were judged in Einstein s day as too weak ever to be measured But in 1974 two radio astronomers Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor discovered some potent evidence while studying the binary pulsar system PSR 1913 16 The two neutron stars in this system have been observed to be slowly spiraling inward toward union a stellar embrace and Hulse and Taylor have furnished calculations of stunning precision to show that the rate of the stars orbital decay neatly coincide with the emission of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity On the Beckman Auditorium stage Barry Barish sat on the edge of a stool beside the podium controlling the tempo of his slide show presentation via keystrokes on a laptop computer Having demonstrated the theory of gravitational waves and offered some indirect evidence for their existence he now announced the mission of the LIGO Laboratory direct detection of these elusive waves and by extension fresh insights into the origin and composition of physical reality In what amounts to a global dragnet the twin installations of the LIGO Laboratory along with its partner observatories dotted across the earth will work in tandem to seek out capture and bring back these ripples to the laboratory for investigation The Japanese gravitational wave project dubbed TAMA was the first in operation Two observatories in Western Europe the Italian VIRGO project and the German UK GEO 600 interferometer are quickly heading toward completion Another installation in Western Australia AIGO has finished construction Plans are underway for the assembly of LISA the space borne Laser Interferometer Space Antenna scheduled to begin operating in the next decade And the LIGO Laboratory recently concluded its second Science Run an event which established new limits on the scientific reach of a gravitational wave interferometer Barish then provided some detailed descriptions of the LIGO instruments how they work their configuration and component parts as well as charts mapping the interferometers steadily growing sensitivity He next cited some of the dynamic stellar phenomena expected to be powerful sources of gravitational waves supernovae spinning binary pulsars and binary neutron systems approaching coalescence Here Barish explained that when the LIGO apparatus makes contact with one of

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0305news/0305two.html (2015-06-02)
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  • Students Explore 40 Meter Prototype
    I spoke with Jessica Tammy and Amy and quizzed the girls about what they had learned so far Behind us followed the chaperones teachers Ms Madonissian and Ms Sharp with the remainder of the enthusiastic youngsters When asked why Caltech was chosen for a tour Ms Madonissian explained We want to reinforce our studies of plate tectonics earthquakes and other ground vibrations At last we reached the 40m prototype which struggles against vibrations constantly We arranged the youngsters in groups of twenty each led in turn through the lab by Alan Weinstein and Dennis Ugolini Dennis eloquently put LIGO on an elementary level We want our mirrors to stay very still even though the ground is shaking everything at a range of frequencies So we hang the mirror from a thin wire to make a pendulum We then bolt this pendulum to a table and sit the table on top of a layer of rubber springs These springs sit on another table which sits on another layer of springs and so on Each pendulum and spring has a resonance frequency at which it likes to vibrate the more the shaking frequency is above this resonance the less the pendulum or

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0305news/0305three.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO's Ambassador at Large
    State of Louisiana In a letter accompanying the commendation the honorable M J Mike Foster cited Gerry for his hard work and dedication in helping to make LIGO a successful project Below Gerry Stapfer recently retired LLO Facilities Manager Above The award to Gerry Stapfer naming him an esteemed Ambassador for the State of Louisiana Skip Smart Assistant Secretary of Economic Development for the State of Louisiana along with Andy

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0305news/0305four.html (2015-06-02)
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  • VIRGO Celebrates the End of Its Construction
    technology and ability at high frequencies in Brillet s laboratory This collaboration evolved into the Virgo facility that was inaugurated on July 23 Alain Brillet and Adalberto Giazotto founders and co developers of Virgo When Virgo was originally conceived in the early 1980s they had decided to name it after the Virgo Cluster an agglomeration of about 1000 galaxies having enough stars to produce many supernovae the gravitational collapse of a star that should emit gravitational waves The original hope was to build a detector sensitive enough to record the gravitational waves from these exploding stars This is still a goal of both Virgo and LIGO but by present estimates it will require second generation detectors to attain the necessary reach Of course the primary goal of Virgo like LIGO might be characterized simply as to observe the most violent events in the universe which includes the collisions of black holes the gravitational collapse of stars and even the relic signals from the big bang Interestingly and perhaps appropriately Cascina the location of Virgo has long been associated with violent events due to a famous work by Michelangelo Michelangelo s piece on Cascina was inspired following the expulsion of the Medici in 1494 when the rebirth of the Florentine Republic was a moment of intense self rediscovery for Florence Following a century in which the city had become more like a conventional princedom it was reasserting a republican government Michelangelo was an enthusiastic supporter of this development and had high hopes for the revitalization of the Florentine government He returned to Florence at that time and created his famous and seductive work of political art the massive sculpture of David hero of the weak against the strong or of Florence against tyrannical powers Michelangelo was then commissioned to create what was expected to be a patriotic masterpiece in the Palazzo Vecchio Unfortunately he never completed the painting but did manage to create a powerful full size drawing of the piece which he entitled the Battle of Cascina The images of war he depicted were not the expected bright and celebratory pageants of chivalry but rather were enigmatic and disturbing This full size drawing has not survived except in that it served as the main visual reference of a painting now in Holkham Hall Norfolk by Bastiano da Sangallo Despite the fact that Michelangelo s Battle of Cascina was never completed the image from the drawing reproduced below has long been considered one of the most haunting representations of the violence of war Michelangelo s Unfinished Drawing The Battle of Cascina The tradition of associating Cascina with violent events that began so wondrously with Michelangelo has now been passed on in our time to our Virgo associates who aim to follow that great tradition by observing a different type of violent events those associated with the entire Universe So we have evolved from the violence of war in the 16th Century to the violence of the Universe in the 21th Century

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0307news/0307one.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Livingston Observatory News
    his great leadership skills Mike will assume his new post this summer and will begin by dividing his time between Livingston and MIT where he will play a vital part in the delivery of the new isolation systems to LLO over the next few years Congratulations Mike Mike replaces Mark Coles who will leave LIGO for a very important role at the National Science Foundation NSF Mark s new position

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0307news/0307two.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Caltech News
    to the Livingston Observatory where he ll continue to work for the LIGO Laboratory He and his wife Tracey have bought a new house outside of Baton Rouge and will be kept busy as they work toward making it feel like home Above left Dennis Ugolini Right Rich Abbott Though it won t be easy to see them go neither has really left us At the last LIGO Scientific Collaboration

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0307news/0307three.html (2015-06-02)
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