David Shoemaker: The Confirmation of Gravitational Waves

Dr. David Shoemaker discusses the groundbreaking observation of gravitational waves in September 2015 and the future of gravitational wave astronomy.

Dr. David Shoemaker works on gravitational wave detection and leads the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project, delivering the detectors that made the groundbreaking observation of gravitational waves in September 2015. He has been involved in the field for over two decades, spending most of that time at MIT where he is presently Senior Research Scientist at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. He is also a Visiting Associate at Caltech and serves as the Director of the MIT Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory.

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About David Shoemaker

David Shoemaker is the Senior Research Scientist at MIT and Director of the Advanced LIGO project. First working in the domain of Cosmic Microwave Background on the COBE satellite, he earned degrees in physics from MIT and the Université de Paris. He has undertaken research at MIT, Max Planck in Garching Germany, and Orsay France, having helped launch gravitational wave detector projects in Germany, France, and the United States. His work on Advanced LIGO stretches from the first concepts in the mid-1990s to the delivery of the instruments in March 2015. Shoemaker is now involved in data quality oversight for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the development of future gravitational wave detectors on the ground and in space. He has testified before Congress on the LIGO effort and how it is expected to benefit science and innovation in the future, and he is an advocate for scientific exploration. Shoemaker is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

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