Montana State University

Scientists to provide update on search for gravitational waves

February 9, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Neil Cornish, MSU professor and member of the LIGO gravitational wave detector team. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to attend a special presentation by Montana State University's Neil Cornish, professor in the Department of Physics and co-director of the MSU eXtreme Gravity Institute, at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in MSU’s Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building. Cornish will provide a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves -- or ripples in the fabric of spacetime -- using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, LIGO.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, Cornish will discuss their ongoing efforts to observe and measure cosmic gravitational waves for scientific research.

LIGO, a system of two identical detectors carefully constructed to detect incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves, was conceived and built by MIT and Caltech researchers and funded by the National Science Foundation, with significant contributions from other U.S. and international partners. The twin detectors are located 1,865 miles apart in Livingston, La., and Hanford, Wash.

For additional background around the project, you may be interested in these websites:

When: 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

Where: Montana State University’s Procrastinator Theater, Strand Union Building, Bozeman

Media wishing to interview Neil Cornish before his 3 p.m. presentation on Thursday, Feb. 11, may make arrangements for interviews earlier in the day by scheduling ahead. Cornish can be reached on his cell phone at (406) 579-3394 or at