Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
February 9, 2024 1:05 PM   Subscribe

"LIGO" - Director's Cut [1h46m] is a documentary about the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory [film website] and the painstaking path taken toward realizing and releasing their first major observation. It's a lot of smart people talking about doing complex science in an accessible way. If you like this kind of think, you'll probably like this.
posted by hippybear (8 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
I just love the almost-crackpot-sounding science. "If we put detectors far enough apart—say, in Washington and Louisiana—then the only thing that could trigger them at the same time is a gravity wave sweeping across the entire planet!" And it worked!

(Watch the film for all the fascinating ways that's a drastic oversimplification.)
posted by straight at 1:11 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Oh my! I'm really looking forward to this!

May I take this opportunity to recommend the absolutely marvelous Black Hole Blues, by Janna Levin? It's one of my favorite books, and Levin does an amazing job of capturing the people who created LIGO and the awe and wonder of what they accomplished.

Thanks so much for sharing this movie, hippybear - I love this kind of thing, and I will probably love this!
posted by kristi at 1:50 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I like this kind of think.
posted by whatevernot at 1:58 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Tangentially related, I recently learned of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), which is due to launch in 2035. Three satellites, separated by 2.5 million km, in a triple-helix orbit around the sun, bouncing lasers off each other to detect gravitational perturbations smaller than a helium atom.
posted by adamrice at 2:54 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


Next they will have to launch the Blackhole Array Reflecting Transience [BART] and then perhaps the Hard Of Measuring Emitting Radius-measurer [HOMER]...
posted by hippybear at 3:00 PM on February 9


MIT was going to set one up only in the state of Massachusetts, but they couldn’t raise enough funding for LIGMA.
posted by dr_dank at 3:21 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]


LIGO feels when space is rippling through

With a wave of
Gravitation
posted by eustatic at 4:45 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I was hoping for an interview with Johnson (trade magazine cartoon)
posted by tinker at 7:21 PM on February 9


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