Almost exactly a hundred years after Einstein's predictions, the two LIGO detectors have achieved the first detection of a gravitational wave, winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. I will talk about an extraordinary journey in experimental physics and the invention of new laser instruments to look into the skies and listen for the echoes of black holes and dying stars.
Andreas Freise is a Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Birmingham. His main interest is the detection of gravitational waves, and he has been part of the LIGO team for almost 20 years. Prof Freise also has had leading roles in the design of several international gravitational wave projects such as Virgo, GEO and the new European project, the Einstein Telescope. He is also leading the outreach efforts of the Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy, from giving talks such as this to developing computer games for science education.