Nobel Prize Laureate Visits SilcoTek to Discuss Scientific Achievement

December 10 2021 SilcoTek

Color image of earth planet in spaceA team from MIT, including Dr. Rai Weiss, came to SilcoTek recently to discuss advances in gravitational astronomy, LIGO, and how SilcoTek can help with future projects.

Nobel Prize Laureate Visits SilcoTek to Discuss Scientific Achievement

SilcoTek® recently hosted a team from MIT to learn about gravitational physics and how coatings can contribute to LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.  It was our pleasure to welcome such an esteemed group of scientists to our facility.  The team was lead by Dr. Rainer Weiss, professor of physics emeritus at MIT, professor at LSU, and Nobel prize recipient.  Dr. Weiss was awarded the Nobel in physics for his work in gravitational waves and his contribution to the LIGO detector project.  Dr. Weiss invented the laser interferometric technique which was used as the basis for operation of the LIGO detector.

Whats LIGO All of LLO

LIGO Livingston is one of several laser interferometers used to measure gravitational waves.  4km Concrete and steel tunnels extend from the facility and are critical to the operation of the instrument.  SilcoTek may one day coat tunnels like these to improve the vacuum performance of the system.*


LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, is a series of very large gravitational laser interferometers that precisely measure gravitational waves.  They are the basis for the study of gravitational wave astronomy.  The Caltech LIGO website further describes the system:

"It is the world's largest gravitational wave observatory and a marvel of precision engineering. Comprising two enormous laser interferometers located 3000 kilometers apart, LIGO exploits the physical properties of light and of space itself to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves (GW)." 

Subscribe to our blog and email

Why was a team from MIT at SilcoTek?

The team came to SilcoTek® to observe our coating process and monitor critical samples as they were processed at our facility.  During processing Dr. Weiss was kind enough to discuss LIGO and how SilcoTek can contribute to the future Cosmic Explorer project.  Cosmic Explorer is the next generation of ground based gravitational wave observatory and is planned to be 10 times larger than existing LIGO observatories.  Cosmic Explorer will be the first system able to observe black hole mergers.   

During his visit, Dr. Weiss presented a fascinating talk entitled "The Beginnings of Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Current State and Future".  Dr. Weiss explained the basic physics and history behind LIGO and it's future direction.  

It was a privilege to watch and learn about this fascinating cutting edge project.  And now you can watch the presentation also!  Just click on the viewer below, or click here, to watch his presentation and learn more about the future of gravitational astronomy.   

The MIT Team chose SilcoTek because our coating technology, scientists, and engineers enable the MIT team to customize a coating solution that fits their needs.  

To learn more about how SilcoTek® can improve the performance of your products, contact our Technical Service Team, or follow us on LinkedIn.

Follow on LinkedIN


*Image credit: (Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab)