LIGO-Virgo scientists to discuss new developments in gravitational-wave astronomy

Issued jointly by the LIGO Laboratory, LIGO Scientific Collaboration, National Science Foundation, and Virgo Collaboration

Scientists representing LIGO, Virgo, and some 70 observatories will reveal new details and discoveries made in the ongoing search for gravitational waves.

WHAT: Journalists are invited to join the National Science Foundation as it brings together scientists from the LIGO and Virgo collaborations, as well as representatives for some 70 observatories, on Monday, October 16, at 16:00 CEST at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The gathering will begin with an overview of new findings from LIGO, Virgo, and partners that span the globe, followed by details from telescopes that work with the LIGO and Virgo Collaboration to study extreme events in the cosmos.

The first detection of gravitational waves, made on September 14, 2015 and announced on February 11, 2016, was a milestone in physics and astronomy; it confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, and marked the beginning of the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy. Since then, there have been three more confirmed detections, one of which (and the most recently announced) was the first confirmed detection seen jointly by both the LIGO and Virgo detectors.

The published articles announcing LIGO-Virgo’s first, second, and third confirmed detections have been cited more than 1,700 times (total), according to the Web of Science citation counts. A fourth paper on the three-detector observation was published on October 6; a manuscript was made publicly available on September 27.

Monday, October 16, 2017
16:00 CEST
** Panels to begin at 16:00 and 17:15, with a 15-minute break in between. Event expected to conclude by 18:30.

The National Press Club
Holeman Lounge
529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

The following researchers will offer brief opening remarks over the course of two panels, with time for questions at the end of each panel:

16:00 CEST
Moderator: France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation

  • David Reitze, Executive Director, LIGO Laboratory/Caltech
  • David Shoemaker, Spokesperson, LIGO Scientific Collaboration/MIT
  • Jo van den Brand, Spokesperson, Virgo Collaboration/Nikhef, VU University Amsterdam
  • Julie McEnery, Fermi Project Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Marica Branchesi, Virgo Collaboration/Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy
  • Vicky Kalogera, Astrophysicist, LIGO Scientific Collaboration/Northwestern University

17:15 CEST
Moderator: Jim Ulvestad, NSF Assistant Director (Acting) for Mathematical and Physical Sciences

  • Laura Cadonati, Deputy Spokesperson, LIGO Scientific Collaboration/Georgia Tech
  • Andy Howell, Staff Scientist at Las Cumbres Observatory/UC-Santa Barbara
  • Ryan Foley, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California-Santa Cruz
  • Marcelle Soares-Santos, Assistant Professor of Physics, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory/Brandeis University
  • David Sand, Assistant Professor in Astronomy, University of Arizona
  • Nial Tanvir, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Leicester, UK
  • Edo Berger, Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University
  • Eleonora Troja, Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Maryland
  • Alessandra Corsi, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas Tech University

Due to seating constraints and security at the venue, journalists interested in attending should RSVP to as soon as possible and by 18:00 CEST on Friday, October 13, at the latest to guarantee a response.

This event will be simulcast live online. Details to be posted on the Virgo site when available (


Virgo-EGO/Séverine Perus, +39 050 752 325;
LIGO-LSC-MIT/Kimberly Allen, +1 617-253-2702;
LIGO-Caltech/Emily Velasco, +1 626-395-6487;
LSC-Georgia Tech/Jason Maderer, +1 404-385-2966;
NSF/Aya Collins, +1 703-292-7737;


The Virgo collaboration consists of more than 280 physicists and engineers belonging to 20 different European research groups: six from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; eight from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; two in the Netherlands with Nikhef; the MTA Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland; Spain with the University of Valencia; and the European Gravitational Observatory, EGO, the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy, funded by CNRS, INFN, and Nikhef.

LIGO is funded by the NSF, and operated by Caltech and MIT, which conceived of LIGO and led the Initial and Advanced LIGO projects. Financial support for the Advanced LIGO project was led by the NSF with Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council) and Australia (Australian Research Council) making significant commitments and contributions to the project. More than 1,200 scientists from around the world participate in the effort through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration. Additional partners are listed at

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