The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration, has announced that for the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time that carry information about the depth of our cosmos. This groundbreaking discovery confirms a major prediction Albert Einstein’s made almost 100 years ago in his renowned 1915 general theory of relativity, that predicted amongst others the existence of gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time that are set off by extremely violent, cosmic cataclysms in the early universe.
The discovery of gravitational waves marks a triumph for the 1000 physicists with the LIGO who reign from Europe, the United States, as well as Japan. These scientists cooperate with LIGO under the LIGO Scientific Collaboration that boasts more than 90 universities and research institutes without whom these discoveries would have not been possible. The University of Vienna has been part of this collaboration helping LIGO in its research, theoretical physicists Sascha Husa, Michael Pürrer, Patricia Schmidt and Gernot Heiße all being part of the illustrious international group.
Image Source: Science Magazine
Support for LIGO does not only come in form of scientists, but also in form of hardware that has been provided to the international group by Crystalline Mirror Solutions, a spin-off of fundamental physics research at the University of Vienna that manufactures low-noise reflective optics using a proprietary coating technology.
According to Professor Gregg Harry of American University, a long-standing member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, “The detection of gravitational waves by LIGO required world-class optics made through a close collaboration of academic and industrial scientists. I am excited to continue my work with Crystalline Mirror Solutions to develop improved optical coatings for use in future gravitational wave detectors. Better coatings will allow for higher sensitivity to gravitational waves and further exciting discoveries in gravitational astronomy.”