David Shoemaker named spokesperson for LIGO Scientific Collaboration

MIT NEWS OFFICE, Julia C. Keller, School of Science Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Senior MIT research scientist to speak for international collaboration for gravitational wave detection research.

Effective immediately, David Shoemaker, leader of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Project, will assume the role of spokesperson for the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

As spokesperson, Shoemaker will coordinate and speak on behalf of the gravitational wave science carried out by scientists in 15 countries in observatories located in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, as well as a detector in Hannover, Germany.

“I’m honored and humbled to be able to speak on behalf of my colleagues and our research on gravitational wave detection,” says Shoemaker, a senior research scientist at MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, who was elected by the LSC’s council members to a two-year term.

“The collaborative work of more than 1,000 scientists and engineers has allowed us to pull the curtains and peek into the new window of the universe that was opened last year,” says Laura Cadonati, a professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Tech, and chair of the LSC’s Data Analysis Council, who will work closely with Shoemaker in his role.

Shoemaker has been working on interferometric instrumentation since the late 1970s when he worked in Professor Emeritus Rai Weiss’ lab, earning his master of science degree from MIT in 1980. After earning his PhD in physics from the University of Paris, Shoemaker returned to the Institute in 1989.

He became head of the MIT group working on LIGO in the early 1990s and later headed up the Advanced LIGO Project. Shoemaker was named a fellow of the American Physical Society for this work in the field.

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Image caption:  MIT senior research scientist David Shoemaker has been elected the next spokesperson for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration.

Photo: Bryce Vickmark