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  • Latest from LIGO Project Controls
    Specifically the last monies were used to finalize the facilities at Hanford and Livingston and to procure the computing systems for the LIGO Data Analysis Systems These procurements were delayed as long as possible to get the most bang for the buck since computing hardware and software tends to get more powerful and less expensive with time But the cooperative agreement was formally over so all materials purchased under the agreement had to be delivered June 30 2003 This isn t to say of that all of the actual work on initial LIGO is finished Far from it We continue to tweak measure and re tweak the detectors to achieve the design sensitivity Currently we are about a factor of ten from our goal However we have already achieved mounting orders of magnitude improvement over the past two years and are confident that we continue to close in on our objectives Every construction project especially one with facilities and equipment as complex as LIGO entails a number of uncertainties and budgets established at the beginning must reflect the risks The trick for Project Management is to manage the budgets the schedule and the risks so as to maximize the benefit

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0307news/0307four.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Hanford Observatory News
    the LIGO Hanford Observatory s Local Educator Network I suggested it might be a neat idea to hold a club star party on the LIGO grounds We could offer a nice program covering both visible astronomy using club member telescopes and the invisible astronomy mission LIGO is pursuing Roy suggested that the unusually close approach of Mars in August might be the event to focus on Our proposal to the club met with tremendous enthusiasm August became Mars Month in the Tri Cities area To celebrate this special occasion the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory the Alliance for the Advancement of Science through Astronomy and the Tri City Astronomy Club sponsored an evening of public lectures about Mars on Saturday August 23 Andrea Dobson professor of Astronomy from Whitman College talked about our evolving understanding of Mars from imagination to reality Steve Reidel earth scientist spoke about Martian geology and compared it to the local geology found in southeast Washington State Meteorite expert John Wacker discussed Martian meteorites how they reached the Earth and what they have revealed about the red planet With everyone s astronomical appetites now whetted the following weekend was highly anticipated for viewing Mars at the LIGO Hanford Observatory The timing was perfect It was the last weekend of the summer vacation season but not in competition with the many night time events we have on other Friday nights during the summer We also expected a young crescent moon that would be visually attractive in the early evening sky but not a glowing rival by the time Mars was high in the heavens For an extra surprise treat we knew we could count on some trailing Perseid meteors For publicity Roy requested an announcement in the Hanford Reach newsletter that goes out to employees of the Department of Energy s Richland office and its contractors I requested an announcement for the event in the Tri City Herald and Roy and I did a live interview the morning of the event on KONA radio Mars the red planet was this summer at its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60 000 years Hubble Space Telescope photos courtesy of NASA and STScI The evening began with a presentation and tour of the LIGO Hanford Observatory from 7 to 9 pm This was the warm up act for the Tri City Astronomy Club members who set up approximately 20 telescopes trained on Mars for public viewing of the planet with occasional jaunts to the Ring Nebula and other noteworthy sky sights Although not an especially clear night people were able to make out the dust lanes in the Milky Way by eye It was a terrific crowd with young families retired folks couples on dates and lots of teens tweens and little tykes staying up late Even with all the scopes available the wait lines grew very long One scope Chris Newbill s 8 1 2 foot long refractor that was brought out to the site in a Humvee had

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0308news/0308one.html (2015-06-02)
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  • Virgo's First Commissioning Run!
    sensitivity improvements This is an important development for the international gravitational wave community in that it brings us closer to the day when the various kilometer scale interferometers will all be in continuous and reliable operation as a phased array or detector network Shortly after the inauguration we received encouraging news that progress towards Virgo s ultimate sensitivity may be moving swiftly Preliminary results from the first light in the Virgo North Arm were distributed to the international community within one week of the inauguration The first commissioning run C0 began on 30 July at 11 00 and ended the following day at 1500 The laser injection system operated with an auxiliary beam i e with the main beam bypassing the mode cleaner cavity and the beam was transmitted to the north end mirror three kilometers distant The angular stability was such that the maximum drift recorded was 60 µradians in one 24 hour period 2 5 µr hr All the suspensions involved in the North Arm operation were under high vacuum and the seismic superattenuators both long and short were operating properly The systems for global control data acquisition vacuum and detection all worked as expected By taking advantage

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0308news/0308two.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Caltech News
    begin at 10am early enough to get good parking late enough to enjoy your morning coffee or bagel or donut or well you get the point Above Scenes of fun in the sun and sand from the LIGO Summer Party Cindy Akutagawa was first to arrive with party co organizer Ryan Tischler soon to follow Our LIGO SURF students for whom the party is in some ways a farewell gathering

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0308news/0308three.html (2015-06-02)
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  • This Just In: GEO Joins LIGO for the Conclusion of the S3 Run!
    LIGO The GEO 600 interferometer is tuned for its best sensitivity at 1 kHz and achieves a sensitivity which is close to what LIGO has marked in that region The GEO 600 continues to demonstrate a splendid duty cycle as well generally ninety five percent or better The GEO team announced that they could be ready to join the third Science Run S3 presently underway at LIGO in a matter

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0312news/0312ep.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Scientific Collaboration News
    of LLO Interferometer Commissioning Leader That was a bit premature since a lot of installation was still going on during 2000 I helped to commission the LLO mode cleaner but spent a lot of time just trying to catch up on what the LIGO interferometers actually were I was incredibly impressed and still am with the design and the execution of it Since then the commissioning has gone really well When did you take on your new role with the LSC And can you tell us a little about the responsibilities you now have Rai Weiss has been the LSC Spokesperson since it was first organized in 1997 He was instrumental in building it from nothing into a thriving organization with of course a lot of help from others But after five plus years at the helm Rai decided he was ready for a change So he asked the LSC Nominating Committee to run an election to choose a successor The results of the election were announced this past March just before the LSC meeting in Livingston Rai wisely proposed a soft start for my term I first chaired a meeting of the LSC Executive Committee back in May The LSC is the organization that unifies scientists both within the LIGO Lab and from other institutions around the world to carry out the scientific program of LIGO Of course the people of the LIGO Lab at Caltech MIT Hanford and Livingston play a central and irreplaceable role But several aspects of LIGO research make sense to share more broadly Historically this first included research on how to build a more sensitive interferometer out of this research came the ideas that were brought together in the Advanced LIGO proposal Not long after the LSC was launched though Rai got various data analysis working groups going to prepare for the stage where we are now actually looking for gravitational waves in the data from LIGO along with the data furnished from our strong partnership with GEO as well The LSC Spokesperson s job is to coordinate the work of the LSC scientists Since the organization has become so strong that means mainly letting people do the work they know how to do and letting the various Working Group leaders Search Group Chairs and others handle their responsibilities Of course LIGO is moving into new ground with the release of our first set of papers on gravity wave observations the rapidly developing sophistication of the analyses for the data runs following our first Science Run the continued intensive commissioning pushing us through the last order of magnitude we need to reach Initial LIGO s sensitivity goals and the rapid progress toward the hoped for approval of Advanced LIGO and then the wonderful challenge of making Advanced LIGO work So the Collaboration is continuing to evolve and the spokesperson needs to help that process along What does this role mean to you professionally Many people have devoted huge chunks of their professional lives to shaping LIGO into a reality and now to making it work I m proud to have been able to help out in a variety of ways over the years Spending a term as LSC Spokesperson is another way to be of service to this great endeavor How about personally One of the great pleasures of life as a scientist is to be able to share in a great quest with colleagues one respects and admires The LSC is a wonderful body of colleagues who share in the quest to discover gravitational waves and then to use them to learn more about the Universe I can t imagine a more satisfying way to have a career in science What would you consider to be among the more exciting elements of the collaboration Harry Collins has taught a lot of us how to think about the organization of our work from a sociological point of view I think back to before we had the LSC and to when it was just getting started due to suggestions by Barry LIGO Deputy Director Gary Sanders Rai and our friends at the NSF A lot of us made cynical jokes about the impossibility of herding cats or less flattering metaphors It was a real struggle to figure out what we wanted the LSC to be and then to make it happen It could easily have failed But we are all better off for having persevered through that struggle So for me the most exciting thing about the collaboration is that it exists and that it does its job so well You could say that many of us learned a new way of life and made that way of life a reality for ourselves We had good role models from other branches of physics but we had to build our own organization in the style that suited us and our work How about the most challenging aspect Our greatest challenge as a collaboration is to continue to grow into our new responsibilities We ve struggled through commissioning Initial LIGO and we re getting very close to our goal We struggled to invent a coherent plan for going beyond the goals of Initial LIGO and now we ve made the proposal for Advanced LIGO which has been very well received We struggled to get the first Science Run S1 data analyzed and to write clear papers describing those analyses and now we ve succeeded at that Just around the corner are new challenges to fulfill the promise of our past successes I m not very worried about continued success in commissioning although I m sure the work will be very hard nor am I very worried about making Advanced LIGO work although there are very real technical challenges there too We ve proved to the world and to ourselves that we know how to meet those kinds of challenges Where I think we have the most growing to do is in the continued development of our program

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0312news/0312one.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Hanford Observatory News
    Lunch consisted of steak potatoes and corn on the cob and was prepared by Terry Santini Otto was presented with an engraved plaque which featured a photo of Otto standing beside one of Hanford s interferometer arms Terry Santini also presented Otto with a Memory Album which she made containing photos of Otto and the Hanford Observatory dating back to the site s very beginning Otto was quite touched by the occasion as was Marjorie In true Otto spirit his last words to everyone after the festivities ended were Now get back to work Above Fred Raab left addresses Otto before presenting him with a commemerative plaque Otto s wife Marjorie watches while seated Below Otto examines his plaque while Gary Sanders watches a close up view of the plaque Above Otto looks through the Memory Album given to him by Terry Santini right Below Otto addresses his colleagues during his farewell luncheon The following day Marjorie and Otto held their own Retirement party at their home in Prosser The affair began at about 2 00 pm and lasted for several hours It was quite a treat since the Matherny s home sits atop one of the tallest hills in

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0312news/0312two.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Caltech News
    Pasadena Riot Police were summoned only once and total arrests were down significantly from previous years The celebration was again held at Chez Lindquist under the jovial supervision of Santa Phil whose skillful and color drenched paintings decorated the home like ornaments on a Christmas tree Some of the most glittering stars in the LIGO firmament were on display since the Project Control s Winter Gathering is renowned far and wide as the must attend event of the holiday season Included among the elite guest list were above left to right Cindy Akutagawa accompanied by husband Gene Gina Salone and Florence Kaufman Bill Tyler and Jim Covington Also gracing the stage on this gala occasion were below left to right Donna Tomlinson and Irene Baldon and Esther Cunningham as Mrs Claus Plus a rare special appearance by Syd Meshkov But the hands down spotlight performer of the event turned out to be none other than Donna Tomlinson who opened one white elephant gift after another only to have each one stolen in turn by her scoundrel work mates Fortunately Donna didn t get stuck with the wisecracking toy man whose oddly strained smile suggests that his toothbrush has somehow become

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0312news/0312three.html (2015-06-02)
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