WEDNESDAY: LIGO, Virgo scientists discuss continued search for gravitational waves at AAS meeting


The international collaborators will comment on their ongoing research, at their first press conference since the historic observation of gravitational waves.

WHAT: Scientists from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration will discuss their latest research in the effort to detect gravitational waves, at the 228th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in San Diego, California. The briefing is scheduled to begin at 10:15 AM Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday, June 15th.


The U.S.-based LSC and the European collaboration Virgo have long been close partners in the search for gravitational waves. The first detection of gravitational waves, 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.

LIGO, a system of two identical detectors carefully constructed to detect incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves, was conceived and built by MIT and Caltech researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation, with significant contributions from other U.S. and international partners. The twin detectors are located in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington.

Virgo, which was designed and built by a collaboration between the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), is a giant laser interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves. It is now operated in Cascina, Italy by an international collaboration of scientists from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Hungary.

Journalists unable to attend the briefing in person can participate via live webcast. Remote participants will be able to ask questions via a chat window accompanying the webcast. Please contact AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg ( for the password.

For additional background about the project, you may be interested in these websites:


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

10:15 AM US PDT/1:15 PM US EDT


Hilton San Diego Bayfront

1 Park Boulevard

San Diego, CA 92101


  • Gabriela González, LIGO Scientific Collaboration spokesperson, Louisiana State University
  • Fulvio Ricci, Virgo spokesperson, INFN & Sapienza University of Rome
  • David Reitze, Executive Director of LIGO, Caltech


Journalists interested in attending the AAS briefing should contact Rick Fienberg for details about on-site registration. A mult box will be available for broadcast media, and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is equipped with wireless access.

For all other press inquiries related to the research being presented, additional questions or access to embargoed materials, please contact the media officers listed below.


For press not based in the San Diego area, this event will be simulcast live online, and we will try to answer some questions submitted remotely. Please contact AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg ( for the password.



Kimberly Allen, LIGO (MIT)

(617) 253-2702;

Whitney Clavin, LIGO (Caltech)

(626) 395-1856;

Mimi LaValle, LSC (LSU)

(225) 578-1194;

Séverine Perus, EGO-Virgo

+39 050752325;

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