Skip to main content

News and Updates

New York Times Features Story on Third Gravitational Wave Detection

June 1, 2017
The New York Times has published a story on LIGO's third detection of gravitational waves, which was announced on June 1, and the implications for astronomy. Read more at www.nytimes.com.

Third Gravitation Wave Detection Featured in Nature - SU Alum Quoted

Two Black Holes Collide (artist's conception)

Two Black Holes Collide (artist's conception)

June 1, 2017
LIGO's third detection of gravitational waves has been featured in an article in Nature. Alexander Nitz, alumnus of the Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group, was instrumental in the detection and was interviewed for the article about spotting the signs of a black hole merger while testing a data-analysis algorithm he had written. "The moment I saw that, I think everything stopped for me," says Nitz. Read more at www.nature.com.

Third Gravitational Wave Detection Featured in Quanta Magazine

Professor Duncan Brown

Professor Duncan Brown

June 1, 2017
The third detection of gravitational waves has been featured in Quanta Magazine. The article discusses questions about black hole pairs and the scenarios that lead to black hole mergers. Syracuse University professor Duncan Brown was interviewed for the article. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org.

Syracuse Alumnus Instrumental in LIGO’s Third Detection of Gravitational Waves

Alex Nitz

Alex Nitz

June 1, 2017

An alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences has been instrumental in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)’s third detection of gravitational waves, demonstrating that a new window onto astronomy is fully open.

Alex Nitz G’15, who earned a Ph.D. in physics, helped detect the signal on Jan. 4, 2017, using a software package he began developing at Syracuse. As was the case with LIGO’s first two detections, the wave in question came from the merger of two black holes, resulting in the formation of a single larger black hole.

“We are extremely proud of Alex for helping detect the furthest binary black hole merger that LIGO has seen. These black holes are over 2.8 billion light-years away,” says Duncan Brown, the Charles Brightman Professor of Physics at Syracuse.

Read more at news.syr.edu and AAAS EurekAlert!.

Physicist to be Recognized by National Academy of Sciences

Peter R. Saulson

Peter R. Saulson

January 26, 2017
We are pleased to announce that Peter Saulson, founder and co-leader of the Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group, has been recognized by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his “outstanding leadership” of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration. Read more at Syracuse University College of Arts & Sciences News. Congratulations, Peter!

Article by former Undergraduate Samantha Usman Published in CQG+

Steven Reyes, Samantha Usman, and Amber Lenon

Steven Reyes, Samantha Usman, and Amber Lenon

December 8, 2016
An article written by former SU undergraduate Samantha Usman, now pursuing an MPhil at Cardiff University, has been published in CQG+, the companion blog to Classical and Quantum Gravity. Read more at CQG+.

Syracuse University Postdoc Laura Nuttall quoted in Symmetry magazine

Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Lexi Fodor

Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Lexi Fodor

September 6, 2016
Laura Nuttall, a postdoctoral research in the gravitational wave group, was quoted in a Symmetry magazine article on gravitational wave physics. Read more at symmetrymagazine.org.

Syracuse, Cal State Fullerton Awarded Grant to Enhance Diversity in Astrophysics

Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown

August 23, 2016
Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences are sharing a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant award with their colleagues at California State University, Fullerton, (CSUF) to recruit and expand the number of underrepresented students in gravitational-wave astronomy. Read more at SU news.

SU Postdoc Accepts Position at AEI, Potsdam

Ben Lackey

Ben Lackey

July 19, 2016
Postdoc Ben Lackey has accepted a postdoctoral position at the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam, Germany. Ben will be working with the group of Prof. Alessandra Buonanno on the study of compact-object mergers that contain neutron stars.

Duncan Brown Quoted in Mental Floss Article on 2nd Gravitational Wave Detection

Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown

June 20, 2016

Syracuse University Professor Duncan Brown was quoted in a Mental Floss article on the second detection of gravitational waves. Professor Brown discussed the importance of the second detection in confirming the validity of the groundbreaking initial signal. “We now know that the first detection wasn’t just luck. This tells us that we will be making regular detections of binary black holes” in the coming years. Read more at mentalfloss.com.

Amber Lenon Featured in Two Local News Stories

Amber Lenon

Amber Lenon

June 15, 2016
Syracuse University graduate Amber Lenon was featured in a Time Warner Cable news article and video, and in the Albany Times Union. See more at TWCnews.com and TimesUnion.com.

SU Helps LIGO Detect Second Pair of Collidiing Black Holes

June 15, 2016

On December 26, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves from a second pair of colliding black holes. “This new detection proves that the first discovery wasn’t just luck,” says Stefan Ballmer, associate professor of physics at Syracuse University. Read more at Syracuse University News.

Additional coverage:

SU Physics Grad Accepted to Cardiff University

Samantha Usman

Samantha Usman

May 15, 2016
Samantha Usman graduated a BS in Physics and will be attending Cardiff University, UK for one year to pursue an M.Phil. in physics. Samantha was honored at the 162nd Commencement as a University Scholar, Syracuse's highest academic honor for undergraduates. She plans to return to the US after her year abroad to pursue a Ph.D. in physics. Congratulations Samantha!

SU Physics Grad Accepted to WVU

Amber Lenon

Amber Lenon

May 15, 2016
Amber Lenon has graduated a BS in Physics and has been accepted to the physics graduate program at West Virginia University. As an undergraduate research student, Amber worked on the discovery of the binary black hole merger GW151226. Amber will be working on searches for binary black holes in eccentric orbits for the Ph.D. thesis. Congratulations Amber!

Samantha Usman Wins Prestigious Honors

Samantha Usman

Samantha Usman

April 15, 2016
Samantha Usman has beem selected as a 2016 University Scholar, Syracuse University's highest academic honor! Read more at Syracuse University news. Samantha was also selected as the 2016 recipient of the Norma Slepecky Prize for undergraduate research at SU. Congratulations, Samantha!

Article by Fabian Magaña-Sandoval Featured in Orange County Register

Fabian Magaña-Sandoval

Fabian Magaña-Sandoval

March 16, 2016
An article by Fabian Magaña-Sandoval, a graduate student in physiscs at Syracuse University, has been featured in the Orange County Register, in Orange County, California. The article describes Fabian's experience working with the LIGO group at Syracuse University. Read the article at OCRegister.com.

Soumi De Interviewed by BrainGain Magazine

Soumi De

Soumi De

March 11, 2016
Soumi De, graduate student at Syracuse University and member of the SU gravitational wave group, was recently interviewed for Brain Gain Magazine about her role in the detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes. Read Soumi's interview at BrainGainMag.

What Does it Sound Like When Black Holes Collide?

February 18, 2016
Pittsburgh NPR affiliate WESA featured a piece on the detection of colliding black holes and the implications for researchers and scientific theories going forward. Syracuse University's Samantha Usman was interviewed. Listen to the piece at WESA.fm.

Gravitational Waves Discovery

From left: A. Alan Middleton, Samantha Usman, Duncan Brown, Thomas Vo, Peter Saulson, Laura Nuttall, and Eric Sedore.

From left: A. Alan Middleton, Samantha Usman, Duncan Brown, Thomas Vo, Peter Saulson, Laura Nuttall, and Eric Sedore.

February 11, 2016
Syracuse University hosted a live broadcast of the NSF press conference about the detection of gravitational waves and held a panel discussion in Goldstein Auditorium at the Schine Student Center Thursday. “The discovery of these binary black holes crashing into each other is really just the beginning of a whole new field of gravitational wave discovery,” says Duncan Brown, the Charles Brightman Endowed Professor of Physics. “It’s going to open up many opportunities for new research from Astronuclear physics, to strong field gravity … all these exciting areas that capture the imagination of students. We are just at the beginning here.” Read more at Syracuse University News.

Former SU undergrad Amber Lenon interviewed for VanguardSTEM

Amber Lenon

Amber Lenon

January 17, 2016
Amber Lenon, now a graduate student at West Virginia University, was interviewed by VanguardSTEM about her work during the second gravitation wave detection and being a woman of color in STEM. Read more at vanguardstem.com.

Duncan Brown Co-Organizes LIGO Conference in Santa Barbara, Calif.

January 8, 2016

Six months after announcing their groundbreaking detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes, Syracuse University professor of physics worked with two other colleagues from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) to coordinate a two-week workshop at the Kavli Institiute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) in Santa Barbara, California. Read more in Quanta Magazine

Duncan Brown Named Brightman Endowed Professor

Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown

January 8, 2016

A physicist in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences is being recognized with a new endowed professorship.

Duncan Brown, a world-renowned expert in gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, has been named the inaugural Charles Brightman Endowed Professor of Physics. Brown is being lauded for his leadership role in the multinational Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment, his excellence in teaching and mentoring, and his contributions to campus research computing.  Read more at AS News.

Dr. Jaclyn Sanders Joins the Gravitational Wave Astronomy Group

Dr. Jaclyn Sanders

Dr. Jaclyn Sanders

January 4, 2016
We are pleased to announce that Jaclyn (Jax) Sanders has accepted a post-doctoral position working with Assistant Professor Stefan Ballmer.  She will pursue experimental gravitational-wave advanced detector resesarch.

Dr. David Kelley successfully defends PhD thesis

Dr. David Kelley

Dr. David Kelley

November 20, 2015
Congratulations Dr. David Kelley on successfull defense of "Angular trapping of a mirror using radiation pressure."

Samantha Usman Named Recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's Award

Samantha Usman

Samantha Usman

October 8, 2015
Samantha Usman, a double major in physics and mathematics, received a giant boost to her research efforts this summer when she was named a recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s award. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native will use the $10,000 prize to continue her research on gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) group at Syracuse. Her interest in physics keeps her busy on campus, but she’s also found time to pursue boxing as a member of the University’s boxing team.  Read more at scholar.syr.edu.

Syracuse Physicists Advance Search for Gravitational Waves

LIGO Hanford

LIGO Hanford

September 18, 2015

Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences are playing a key role in the first observation run of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave (LIGO) Detector, after a meticulous five-year rebuild.
Read more at Syracuse University News.

Chris Biwer was Selected as a LIGO Scientific Collaboration Fellow

Chris Biwer

Chris Biwer

September 1, 2015
Congratulations to Chris Biwer who was selected as a LIGO Scientific Collaboration Fellow.  Chris spent three months at the LIGO Hanford Observatory working on the dectector's hardware-injection system.  This system is used to test the calibration of the LIGO detectors by adding simulated signals that move the detector's mirrors in the same way as a gravitational wave signal would.

Dr. Alex Nitz Successfully Defends PhD Thesis

August 20, 2015
Congratulations Dr Alex Nitz on successfull defense of "The Effect of Compact Object Spin on the Search for Gravitational Waves from Binary Neutron Star and Neutron Star - Black Hole Mergers." Read the thesis at SU Surface.

Research Scientist Antonio Perreca Moves to a New Position

Antonio Perreca

Antonio Perreca

June 30, 2015
Research scientist Antonio Perreca moves to a new position as a senior postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology.

Hannah Fair was selected as a LIGO Scientific Collaboration Fellow

Hannah Fair

Hannah Fair

June 1, 2015
Congratulations to Hannah Fair who was selected as a LIGO Scientific Collaboration Fellow.  Hannah spent three months at the LIGO Hanford Observatory working to help commission the detector prior to the start of the first Advanced LIGO Observing run.  Her work will include validating data quality diagnostics to ensure that the data are useful for astrophysics.

University Integral to Advanced LIGO Success

The University’s 300 tera-FLOP supercomputer benefits an array of researchers involved with the Advanced LIGO project, including Samantha Usman ’16, left, and research scientist Laura Nuttall.

The University’s 300 tera-FLOP supercomputer benefits an array of researchers involved with the Advanced LIGO project, including Samantha Usman ’16, left, and research scientist Laura Nuttall.

May 21, 2015
For nearly 25 years, the University’s participation in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project has been one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ biggest success stories. Dozens of faculty, postdocs and graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Physics have joined in the search for gravitational waves of cosmic origins, making LIGO’s Hanford and Livingston observatories a home away from home.  Read more Syracuse University News.

Erika Cowan Accepts offer to PhD Program at Georgia Tech

Erika Cowan

Erika Cowan

April 6, 2015
Congratulations to Erika Cowan who accepted an offer to join the PhD program at Georgia Tech working with Deirdre Shoemaker and Laura Cadonati.