Winner of the 2020 Award for Excellence in Detector Characterization and Calibration Announced

The LIGO Laboratory congratulates Siddharth Soni of Louisiana State University for winning this year’s LIGO Laboratory Award for Excellence in Detector Characterization and Calibration for his outstanding work to reduce transient noise due to stray light in the Advanced LIGO detector at LIGO Livingston Observatory during the Observing Run O3.

Soni identified, characterized, and mitigated multiple sources of stray light at the LIGO Livingston Observatory. Through his research, he discovered new light scattering paths and characterized new methods to mitigate these newly identified noise sources. Soni’s work directly reduced one of the most challenging sources of LIGO transient noise, one associated with multiple retracted LIGO-Virgo candidate event alerts, and allowed the confident detection of subsequent distant, weak gravitational wave signals.

Soni’s work is a major success for the greater LIGO Detector Characterization effort. Identifying noise transients, linking them to particular interferometer conditions, and eliminating the source of the noise is one of the most effective paths to improved detector sensitivity and greater astrophysical discovery potential for LIGO.

Soni will receive a $1000 prize and will present an invited seminar at one of the LIGO Laboratory sites (LIGO-Hanford, LIGO-Livingston, Caltech, or MIT) to share his achievements with LIGO Laboratory members. Soni will receive an award certificate remotely during the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration meeting in March 2021.

Read more about the LIGO Laboratory Award for Excellence in Detector Characterization and Calibration.

Find a list of excellent LIGO Detector Characterization and Calibration projects that earned honorable mention for the 2020 award.

Image credit: Kevin Jacob

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