Area of Expertise:
Gravity, optics, experimental physics, gravitational-wave research, LIGO
Harry is a member of the LIGO Collaboration, a group of scientists working to detect gravitational waves. Gravitational waves come out of Einstein's theory of gravity, which predicts that certain astronomical events like supernova, colliding black holes and neutron stars, and the Big Bang should create waves in space. LIGO operates three detectors in the U.S. designed to detect these waves. They work using laser to detect the position of mirrors separated from each other by 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles). Very high-quality optics are necessary for such a precision measurement. Harry's area of specialization within this field is in producing very high-quality optical coatings, specifically, coatings that minimize thermal vibrations, a source of noise in the detector.
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