Associate Professor of Physics Steven Penn will give a public presentation at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Thursday, Feb. 11 as part of an important update regarding the search for gravitational waves – 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted their existence.
The HWS presentation will be held in conjunction with a live press conference by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that’s bringing together scientists from California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration at the National Press Club for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves – or ripples in the fabric of spacetime – using LIGO.
Penn’s presentation and the live broadcast will be held in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. Doors open at 10 a.m., opening remarks will begin at 10:10 a.m. and the NSF broadcast starts at 10:30 a.m. Following the broadcast, Penn will discuss the LIGO research conducted at HWS and will lead a question-and-answer session. Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata will give the opening remarks. The HWS event is open to the public.
Penn, who has served on the HWS faculty since 2002, is a member of the LIGO Science Collaboration Council. Penn played an important role in the design of the mirror substrate and coating for LIGO.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, the group 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 NSF, with significant contributions from other the United States and international partners. The twin detectors are located 1,865 miles apart in Livingston, La., and Hanford, Wash.
For additional background about the project, visit: