On the 14th September 2015 two giant laser interferometers known as LIGO, the most sensitive instruments ever built,
detected gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of massive black holes more than a billion light years from
the Earth. LIGO estimated that the peak gravitational wave power radiated during the final moments of the merger
was more than ten times greater than the combined light power from all the stars and galaxies in the 0bservable
Universe.Hear about the amazing technology behind the LIGO detectors, which can measue the signatures of spacetime
ripples less than a million millionth the width of a human hair, and explore the exciting future that lies ahead
for gravitational wave astronomy as we open an entirely new window on the Universe.
Stuart Reid is a Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of the West of Scotland, and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and an elected member and co-chair of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland. He has spent the last 14 years developing technology for gravitational wave detectors, and is co-inventor of "nanokicking", where precise nanoscale vibrations can be used to control the behaviour (and fate) of adult stem cells.