Rumors of the detection of gravitational waves had been circulating for months. Major news outlets were reporting that this significant news was in the making, and speculation among reputable scientists was making its rounds on Twitter and other social media outlets. Even Nature, one of the most highly respected scientific journals in the world, had published two articles in September 2015 and January 2016 that reported on the rumored gravitational waves. Excitement about this potential discovery was mounting, but the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was remaining mum.
Penn State physics alumna Amber Stuver began working on LIGO research as a graduate student at Penn State. Stuver currently works as a LIGO scientist at the LIGO Livingston observatory and a physics instructor at Louisiana State University
Gabriela Gonzalez, former assistant professor of physics at Penn State (1998-2001) and current LIGO scientist and professor of physics at Louisiana State University, had been working with LIGO since 1997. In 2011, she was elected the spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. At the press conference for the announcement of LIGO’s detection of gravitational waves, Gonzalez was one of the five people on the stage to talk about the discovery. The other person on that stage with Penn State connections was France Cordova, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and former head of Penn State’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics (1989-1993).
The Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos (IGC) is a multidisciplinary institute of Penn State researchers dedicated to the study of the most fundamental structure and constituents of the Universe. Thanks to the sustained support from the Eberly College of Science for over two decades, IGC researchers have been able to make seminal contributions at the forefront of fundamental science, including the physics, astrophysics, and mathematics of gravitational waves.
Big Data is a ubiquitous term in today’s society. With modern technology seamlessly incorporated into so many aspects of human life, the possibilities for extracting information about our habits, our health, and the many other events of our daily life is huge. But how can academia, research, and industry learn how to harness the power of the large sets of data we’re now able to collect?
Across the University, researchers are continually making discoveries and creating inventions that can have real-world impact and societal benefits. Although this intellectual property (IP) and innovation often can result in improving health, developing new materials, and addressing environmental issues, among other important matters, researchers are often unsure of how to actually transfer their technology from the lab bench to industry development and application.