The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, (also known as LIGO) is a large scale physics experiment and observatory to detect gravitational waves. This project is basically a community of life scientists, artists, computer scientists, engineers, investors, supporting companies and entrepreneurs creating economically viable and sustainable solutions to hard life science problems.
In Sept 2015, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), detected faintest slice of the waves in the universe, this became the first gravitational wave to be detected directly by human scientists. That slice, called GW150914 by LIGO’s masters was recently announced to the world on February 11.
The LIGO project has been co-founded in 1992 by Kip Thorne and Ronald Drever of Caltech and Rainer Weiss of MIT, LIGO is a joint project between scientists at MIT, Caltech and many other colleges and Universities. This project is the catalyst that enables science, medical and healthcare innovations that can ultimately impact quality of life.
It is a triumph for the researchers opening a new window onto the universe and providing researchers a novel way to look at the happenings in the universe as far back in time as the Big Bang.
Albert Einstein had implied any accelerating mass should make ripples in space-time. The idea of gravitational waves emerged from the general theory of relativity. However he was unable to prove and oscillated between the two sides, arguing for such waves and then, after redoing the sums, against them.
For gravitational astronomy, this is just the beginning. Soon, LIGO will not be alone. By the end of the year VIRGO, a gravitational-wave observatory in Italy, should join it in its search. Another is under construction in Japan and talks are under way to create the fourth, in India. Most ambitiously, a fifth, orbiting, observatory, the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or e-LISA, is also on the cards. The first pieces of apparatus designed to test the idea of e-LISA are already in space.
Together, by jointly forming a telescope that will permit astronomers to pinpoint whence the waves come, these devices will help them access universe as technology improves, waves of lower frequency—corresponding to events involving larger masses—will become detectable. As universe was transparent to gravity moments after the Big Bang and long before light, this would help astronomers to peer at the first 380,000 years after the Big Bang, an era of history that has not been able to access with any other kind of telescope, thus being a boon for all the physics researchers working day in and day out on this.