OSA Gives Advanced LIGO Engineering Team Paul F. Forman award.

Press Release Summary:

Optical Society (OSA) announced Advanced LIGO Engineering Team as winner of 2016 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award. Their discovery, confirming Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, was made possible by photonics technology, including laser-based interferometers used to measure gravitational waves. Dennis Coyne and GariLynn Billingsley will accept award at OSA's Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) / Laser Science (LS) on 19 October 2016.

Original Press Release:

Advanced LIGO Engineering Team Receives OSA's 2016 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award

Overcoming a Daunting List of Engineering Challenges; LIGO team connected optical, electrical and mechanical elements of advanced interferometry to find engineering success at the limits of human endeavor

WASHINGTON – The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce that the Advanced LIGO Engineering Team is the winner of the 2016 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award. The discovery, which confirms Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, is among the most significant in the last century of physics and was made possible by photonics technology, including the ultra-precise laser-based interferometers used to measure gravitational waves. The team will receive the award during the plenary session at OSA's Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) / Laser Science (LS), which takes place in Rochester, New York, USA on 19 October 2016. Dennis Coyne and GariLynn Billingsley, California Institute of Technology, will be accepting the award at FiO/LS.

"For years, many members of The Optical Society have been actively researching this phenomenon of nature," said Alan Willner, 2016 President of The Optical Society. "We heartily congratulate the LIGO Engineering Team on this remarkable achievement of gravitational wave astronomy. LIGO is an absolutely monumental research effort. Technical advances wrought by Advanced LIGO's talented team of engineers who produced the unique 'blend of optical, mechanical, electrical and systems engineering' made possible this stunning achievement.¡±

Dennis Coyne, the Advanced LIGO Chief Engineer, California Institute of Technology, said, "After 20 years of dedicated effort, LIGO's direct detection of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger is incredibly rewarding and exciting! This enormous discovery was only possible due to the visionary support of the National Science Foundation and the incredibly hard work of an extremely talented team of scientists and engineers. I am deeply grateful and proud to have played a part for the launch of this new field of observational cosmology."

James C. Bergquist, Fellow of The Optical Society and The National Academy of Sciences, said, "I still smile whenever I think of the emotional ecstasy that must have swept over the entire LIGO Team, but especially her engineers, when they realized that, in spite of the rather noisy platform afforded by spaceship earth, their exquisitely sensitive interferometers, each a technical masterpiece and easily the most sensitive metrological instruments ever built, had worked flawlessly to finally reveal direct evidence of the existence of gravitational waves."

Gravitational waves went from a whisper to a shout when detected in October 2015. Using advanced optics-based systems, the research team was able to measure gravitational waves on Earth, enabling them to pinpoint the precise moments they were produced.  Unlike light, gravitational waves are not diminished by interstellar dust as they propagate through space. By detecting them, the research team is able to peer into the most energetic events of the universe and explore the cosmos in a completely new way. The project is a significant example of the best in international innovation and the team's continued research with Advanced LIGO will continue to impact the physical sciences for years to come.

The Advanced LIGO Engineering Team     

LIGO Laboratory–Caltech

Ben Abbott, Electronics engineer

Rich Abbott, Lead electronics engineer

Robert Anderson, Lead QA/manufacturing engineer

Lisa Austin, Mechanical engineer

GariLynn Billingsley, Lead optical engineer

Rolf Bork, Lead software engineer

Dennis Coyne, Chief engineer

Kate Gushwa, Mechanical engineer

Jay Heefner, Lead electronics engineer

Alastair Heptonstall, Lead laser engineer

Alex Ivanov, Real time software engineer

Mindy Jacobson, Opto-mechanical engineer

Eric James, Systems engineer

Jeff Lewis, QA/manufacturing engineer

Mohana Mageswaran, Electrical engineer

Ken Mailand, Opto-mechanical engineer

Margot Phelps, Optical engineer

Eduardo Sanchez, Design engineer

Zhenhua Shao, Electronics engineer

Michael Smith, Opto-mechanical engineer

Calum Torrie, Deputy Chief engineer

Liyuan Zhang, Optical engineer

LIGO Laboratory–MIT

Sam Barnum, Mechanical engineer

Sebastien Biscans, Mechanical engineer

Stephany Foley, Mechanical engineer

Michael Hillard, Mechanical engineer

Ken Mason, Lead mechanical engineer

Fabrice Matichard, Lead mechanical engineer

Rich Mittleman, Controls engineer

Andy Stein, Mechanical engineer

LIGO Laboratory–LIGO Hanford Observatory

Dave Barker, Lead computer systems engineer

Jim Batch, Software engineer

Filiberto Clara, Electrical engineer

Doug Cook, Optical engineer

Corey Gray, mechanical engineer

Jonathan Hanks, Software engineer

Peter King, Lead laser engineer

Jeff Kissel, Lead controls engineer

Vincent Lhuillier, Controls engineer

Richard McCarthy Lead electrical engineer

Edmond Merilh, Electronics assembly and test engineer

Gerardo Moreno, Assembly, test, and QA engineer

Jason Oberling, Opto-mechanical engineer

Hugh Radkins, Lead servo-mechanical installation/test engineer

Cyrus Reed, Software engineer

Kyle Ryan, Vacuum engineer

Paul Schwinberg, Electrical engineer

Aaron Sevigny, Electrical engineer

Cheryl Vorvick, Opto-mechanical engineer

Jim Warner, Installation and test engineer

Betsy Weaver, Lead opto-mechanical installation/test engineer

John Worden, Lead Operations engineer

LIGO Laboratory–LIGO Livingston Observatory

Carl Adams, Lead electronics engineer

Stuart Aston, Opto-mechanical engineer

Derek Bridges, Assembly and test engineer

Dwayne Giardina, Software engineer

David Kinzel, Electronics engineer

Adrien LeRoux, Integration and testing engineer

Scott McCormick, Vacuum engineer

Mike Meyer, Mechanical engineer

Adam Mullavey, Systems engineer

Arnaud Pele, Integration and testing engineer

Celine Ramet, Lead mechanical engineer

Janeen Romie, Lead mechanical engineer

Keith Thorne, Lead computer systems engineer

Gary Traylor, Lead assembly/installation engineer

Michael Vargas, SEI assembly engineer

Albert Einstein Institute and Laser Zentrum Hannover

Maik Frede, Electro-optics engineer

Gerrit Kuehn, Computer systems engineer

Michaela Pickenpack, Electro-optics engineer

Oliver Puncken, Electro-optics engineer

Andreas Weidner, Electronics engineer

Lutz Winkelmann, Opto-mechanical engineer

Glasgow University

Angus Bell, Opto-mechanical engineer

Russell Jones, Opto-mechanical engineer

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Justin Greenhalgh, Lead mechanical engineer

Joe O'Dell, Mechanical engineer

Ian Wilmut, Mechanical engineer

Stanford University

Charles Celerier, Software engineer

Dan Clark, Mechanical engineer

Dan DeBra, System design engineer

Corwin Hardham, Mechanical engineer

Brian Lantz, Lead system and controls engineer

Hugo Paris, Controls engineer

Brett Shapiro, Controls and modeling engineer

University of Florida

Muzamil Arain, Optical engineer

Joe Gleason, Opto-mechanical engineer

Matthew Heintze, Opto-mechanical engineer

Rodica Martin, Optical engineer

Luke Williams, Opto-mechanical engineer

The Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award was established by The Optical Society in 1989 and has since been bestowed on dozens of outstanding researchers and engineers. Named in remembrance of Paul F. Forman, who, among many other accomplishments, effectively raised the visibility of optical engineering. This team award recognizes technical achievements such as product engineering, process, software and patent development, as well as contributions to society such as engineering education, publication and management, and furthering public appreciation of optical engineering. For more information on the award or the nomination process, visit OSA Awards.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org/100.

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