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LIGO designated as historic site by American Physical Society

LIGO designated as historic site by American Physical Society
Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 2:30 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - A huge award was given to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston on Thursday.

It was deemed a historic site by the American Physical Society.

The coveted plaques are only awarded to sights that have made critical contributions to physics.

LIGO did just that in 2015. It was the first observatory to make direct observation of gravitational waves.

"It's a new way to study some of the most violent, some of the most exciting events in the high energy universe," said David Reitze, executive director of LIGO. "It's fundamental knowledge, just like for example when Galileo turned his telescope to the sky and started seeing stars and planets and things like that. This is along those same kind of lines."

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Some LSU and Southern University students were working at the facility when the discovery was made. LSU President F. King Alexander was in attendance to speak on behalf of the university.

"We've had collaboration from some of the biggest universities all over the world working right here in the LIGO facility," Alexander said. "In addition to grad students, who were present when the discovery was found at 4:23 in the morning, a fraction of a second before it hit Washington State, where the other facility is."

The discovery contributed to three scientists winning the Nobel Physics Prize in 2017. MIT professor, Rainer Weiss, former Caltech professor, Kip Thorne, and Caltech professor, Barry Barish, all won the prize.

LIGO continues to do research and scientific work, and Alexander says students many students continue to work with the scientists.

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