LIGO Debuts Two New Information Resources

To the general public, the dense technical nature of much scientific research can make the entire activity sometimes seem inscrutable. Scientists collaborate closely and often communicate in a shared language of acronyms, codes, abbreviations and insider lingo. They diagram strategies on classroom chalkboards and debate vehemently around beige conference tables. Much of their thinking is expressed in the symbolic notations of mathematics. All combined these can prove a high barrier to an understanding by non-professionals. As a result, the work of scientists might go unnoticed for years until such time as some stunning discovery is announced or a revolutionary technology is revealed.

This is unfortunate because the stepping stones on the path to a big discovery can be fascinating themselves. Often these "small victories" provide a better insight into the actual processes of scientific research than do the sudden headlines of a dramatic discovery announced.

The trailblazing work of LIGO comprises hundreds of scientists and dozens of premier institutions all working toward a common goal - the discovery and study of gravitational waves. All involved firmly believe that the Advanced LIGO detectors will capture this prize. But in the build up to that day, vital and significant science is underway around the clock.

To share news of these important advances with interested members of the public, LIGO has developed two new online resources to describe, as non-technically as possible, the progress our team members are making in two pivotal directions: science and technology.

First are the Science Summaries. LIGO now regularly publishes "outreach abstracts" of significant new research publications, which include the data in plots and tables. Currently available are: "A Search for Gravitational Waves from Inspiraling Neutron Stars and Black Holes," "Optical, X-ray, and Radio Telescopes Seek Explosive Sources of Gravitational Waves," and "Listening for Gravitational Waves with 'Ears Wide Open,'" among others.

Second is the LIGO Technology Development and Migration webpage. Here we describe real case histories in which technological innovations powered by LIGO research have traveled on to other areas of science and industry. Find out about the "Fast Chirp Transform," the "Holographic Quantum Geometry" and the "Diode Pumped Laser," among others.

These two new online LIGO resources will be updated regularly as fresh publications become available, so check back often for the latest information.

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