Stanley E. Whitcomb, California Institute of Technology

Chief Scientist Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Pasadena, California stan@ligo.caltech.edu Office: (626) 395-2131

Bio/Research

Stan Whitcomb is currently the Chief Scientist of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory. The LIGO Lab is operated by Caltech and MIT through funding from the National Science Foundation. It comprises observatories in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washingto...

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Bio/Research

Stan Whitcomb is currently the Chief Scientist of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory. The LIGO Lab is operated by Caltech and MIT through funding from the National Science Foundation. It comprises observatories in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington, in addition to the groups at Caltech and MIT. Over twenty-five years in development and construction, LIGO is expected to begin taking data at its design sensitivity by year’s end, and will be a key part of an international network of gravitational wave detectors, seeking to learn about the universe through a new type of signal. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration currently includes approximately 500 scientists, engineers and students from more than 50 institutions in nine countries.

Stan received his undergraduate education at Caltech. He had one year of graduate study at Cambridge University before completing his Ph. D at the University of Chicago in far-infrared and submillimeter astronomy. He returned to Caltech in 1980 as the assistant professor of physics, near the beginning of Caltech’s entry into the field of gravitational wave detection. Over the years since then, he has been involved in nearly every phase of the effort to build LIGO—concept development, prototype sensitivity demonstration, detector design and installation, commissioning, data analysis, and management. He is the vice-chair of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Gravity and a member of the International Society on General relativity and Gravitation.


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