MIT Kavli Institute Directory

David H. Shoemaker

Leader, Advanced LIGO Senior Research Scientist

March 2017
David Shoemaker named spokesperson for LIGO Scientific Collaboration
Senior MIT research scientist to speak for international collaboration for gravitational wave detection research.
MIT News


In the late 70s, I worked in Rai Weiss' lab on the COBE satellite FIRAS interferometer that measured the Planck Spectrum, and then moved to the interferometric detection of gravitational waves in the early 80s. I spent a few years at Max Planck in Garching, Germany and the CNRS in Paris, France, developing specific technologies for gravitational wave detection, then returned to MIT in '89.  I led the Advanced LIGO Project. The team delivered detectors in March 2015 which, after commissioning and observing, enabled the first detection of gravitational waves in September 2015. in March 2017 I was elected for a 2-year term as Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.


LIGO and gravitational wave resources in DSpace@MIT


Research interests: 

I work on instrumentation to enable the observation of gravitational radiation via precision measurement techniques.

Representative publications: 

Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger, B. P. Abbott et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration) Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 – Published 11 February 2016

Noise behavior of the Garching 30 meter prototype gravitational wave detector, D. Shoemaker, R. Schilling, L. Schnupp, W. Winkler, K. Maischberger, A. Ruediger; Phys. Rev. D 38 (1988) 423432

Honors and awards: 

Fellow of the American Physical Society

Contact Information

t: 617-253-6411


Ph.D., Physics, Université de Paris, Orsay, France, 1987; M.S., Physics, MIT, 1980