ACU physics researchers join LIGO Scientific Collaboration

Posted October 12, 2011

Dr. Josh Willis, assistant professor of physics at ACU, has been granted admission to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration, a group of scientists "seeking to make the first direct detection of gravitational waves, use them to explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and develop the emerging field of gravitational wave science as a tool of astronomical discovery," as stated on the organization's website.

During the Spring 2011 semester, Dr. Willis spent time in Germany studying gravitational waves at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam. After being admitted to the LIGO group, Willis wanted to include his students in his research, teaching them how to collect and analyze data related to gravitational waves. He sent in an application to create an LSC group at ACU, which will allow his students to be part of the project.

"By being a part of the collaboration, we're agreeing to offer our scientific skillsĀ in exchange for access to the data," says Willis. "My students and I will be collecting large amounts of data and then looking through it with sophisticated computer techniques to see whether we're able to detect any signals."

To learn more, visit the websites of LIGO and the LSC.