This month, we go on a field trip to the LIGO Hanford Observatory, one of a number of detectors that are searching for gravitational waves. In part one of this trip, we hear from a number of people working at the detector.
Dr Mike Landry, Head of the LIGO Hanford Observatory, explains how – and crucially why – the experiment exists. Dr Fred Raab, Associate Director for Operations for LIGO, looks back to why the desolate landscape of Hanford was selected in the first place.
Looking at the technical details, Drs Georgia Mansell and Craig Cahillane give some insights into commissioning and upgrading the detectors, while Corey Gray tells us about operating such a complex machine, and learning to fabricate one of the critical components – glass fibres that suspend the mirrors