LASER Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) with locations in Livingston Louisiana and Hanford Washington and partners around the globe


I had the good fortune to participate in the development of LIGO detection algorithms prior to the detection of gravitational waves while a graduate student at University of Minnesota and to be a member of the LIGO collaboration working on databases while a graduate student at LSU at the time the first few detections were published.  Being at the LIGO Livingston on the day the first detection of gravitational waves announced is a memory I will never forget! Unfortunately, I don't have any of my own pictures of the detector or of my experiences there! The above pictures are about LIGO, but not specifically my research. Below, I discuss my research at University of Minnesota.

Detection algorithm development

At University of Minnesota, I helped develop a spectrogram based search for gravitational waves using the radon transform. It looked for linearly evolving frequencies in frequency-time maps (spectrograms) by mapping lines to hot spots. It then used cross-correlation statistics with a weighted SNR statistic informed by the strength of the noise on a bin-by-bin basis.