Aus der 6. Ausgabe:
Detector Commissioning: Control Room Days and Nights
At LIGO Hanford, the major part of Advanced LIGO H1 installation reached completion in August 2014. Full resonance of the detector first occurred on December 3, 2014. The commissioning team entered 2015 with the goal of moving H1 forward as rapidly as possible in sensitivity and robust performance. It’s a winding road.
For several weeks each year, high winds out of the Cascade Mountains rip through the LIGO Hanford site. Often in excess of 40 km/h (25 mph) with a maximum 173 km/h (107 mph) recorded at the observatory, these winds transport thousands of Russian thistle plants, or tumbleweeds, across the desert.
Every complicated machine needs a control panel, and the LIGO interferometers are no exception. The interferometer is operated via a collection of
hundreds of control screens accessible via the control room computer workstations. Each screen is a kind of cartoon showing how signals travel through the underlying real-time control systems, and allows important parameters to be adjusted. The screens themselves are a reminder of how the interferometer control loops work. They are drawn so that signals travel from left to right, and the screens are arranged in a top-down hierarchy so that you can “drill down” from the top level overview to any needed level of detail.
The Transition of Gravitational Physics – From Small to Big Science, Part 1
In the second half of the last century, the field of physics led the scientific community in an inevitable transformation from “small” to “big” science.
The need for a sub-field to reorganize to attack the current frontiers of research began in high energy physics, and spread through nuclear physics,
atomic physics, condensed matter physics, and eventually even to theoretical physics. It was driven by the need to move from table-top research
equipment under the control of individual university investigators, to remote shared centralized facilities, with cutting-edge instrumentation and enormous budgets. The move was always painful, and created major dislocations and reorientations for faculty, students, and university physics departments.
LIGO Field Trip: A Visit to the Hanford Site and the B Reactor
At the invitation of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Richland Operations Office, LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO) personnel broke away for a hosted four-hour tour of the Hanford site and the historic B Reactor on September 30, 2014. In part the tour was reciprocation for a LIGO tour that we provided for about 70 DOE staff members in June of 2013. The Hanford bus tour helped the LIGO crew better understand occasional site-related seismic noise in H1; those of us touring the site for the first time appreciated the opportunity to learn some of the history of the facilities we can see from LHO’s back patio.
Undergrads Conducting Research for LIGO
Many people from highly diverse backgrounds conduct LIGO research. The complexity of our experiment creates the need for different research projects in various scientific areas, and at differing levels of sophistication. LIGO’s research environment definitely holds a place for undergraduate students who want to contribute to this effort.
Where Should I Apply for Grad School?
Where should I apply for grad school? What should I look for when visiting a potential university / research group? What factors do I weigh to reach a decision? And how much of this is still relevant when searching for a postdoc? Ilya Mandel, a LIGO member on the faculty at the University of Birmingham, UK, where he oversees graduate admissions in astrophysics, tries to address some of these questions in this article. In future issues, he will look at selecting a PhD project, and at maximizing what you get out of your PhD experience.
When We‘re Not Doing Science ... We’re Hiking!
LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO) offers a number of comfortable conference rooms of various sizes for meetings and telecons. From time to time, however, we prefer to meet in spaces a little more wild.