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Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years after Einstein's Prediction - Thursday, February 11, 2016

The National Science Foundation held a press conference February 11, 2016, to announce the detection of gravitational waves by LIGO. SU alumnus William Parker (pictured, a detection operator, was on duty in the control room at the LIGO Livingston Observatory when the event was detected. Southern University has been an active member in LIGO since 1999 and with LIGO Science Education Center since it opened.

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einsteinís 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA.

At the helm in the control room at the LIGO Livingston Observatory was Southern University alumnus William Parker, who first noted the anomaly and alerted staff of a possible detection after getting calls from other researchers involved in the scientific observation for gravitational waves.

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