LIGO at Minnesota

Welcome to the University of Minnesota gravitational-wave research group!  Our research activities include data analysis for the LIGO project, astrophysical and cosmological models of gravitational-wave production and the development of technology for third-generation gravitational-wave detectors.

Recent News
  • February 11, 2016: the LIGO Scientific Collaboration announces the first direct detection of gravitational waves! Paper in Physical Review Letters and on the arXiv.
  • February 2016: "All-sky search for long-duration gravitational wave transients with LIGO" published in Phys. Rev. D (arXiv link).
  • January 2016: Advanced LIGO concludes its first observing run (Sept. 12, 2015 - Jan. 12, 2016) with improved sensitivity compared to initial LIGO.
  • "Gravitational waves from Scorpius X-1: a comparison of search methods and prospects for detection with advanced detectors" published in Phys. Rev. D (arXiv link).
  • May 2015: final seismic stations installed at Homestake, bringing the total to 24!
  • November 2014: first seismic stations installed at the Homestake Mine.
  • Summer 2014: Tanner Prestegard wins UMN Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for the 2014 - 2015 academic year.
Recent Publications
Recent/upcoming GW conferences
  • APS April meeting in Salt Lake City, UT (Apr. 16 - Apr. 19, 2016)
  • LSC-Virgo meeting in Pasadena, CA (Mar. 14 - Mar. 18, 2016)
  • LSC-Virgo meeting in Budapest, HU (Aug. 31 - Sept. 3, 2015)

Gravitational waves

One of the consequences of Einstein's theory of general relativity is the existence of gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime, which manifest themselves as minuscule strains, alternately stretching and squeezing the spacetime through which they pass. Gravitational waves are thought to be copiously created in violent cosmic events such as the coalescence of two neutron stars, supernovae and the birth of the universe itself. While gravitational waves pass through us all the time, the strain is so small (less than one part in 1023) that sophisticated detectors are required to detect them. While there is strong indirect evidence for the existence of gravitational waves (from the orbital decay of Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar), they have yet to be detected directly. A worldwide effort is underway to directly detect gravitational waves. Physicists are hopeful that as gravitational-wave detectors improve, gravitational-wave detection will eventually become routine, opening a totally new view of the universe!