LIGO diary 2002--report #3

by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 6 August 2002

Saturday, 3 August 2002: I'm home finally. We drove home Thursday and arrived that evening.

I did go on a hike last Saturday in Clark Creek State Park in Mississippi, just across the Louisiana-Miss. border about 2 hours drive from Hammond. The park is a thickly forested hilly area near the Mississippi River. The hike was about 6.5 km (4 miles) with much more up-and-down hills than I expected. I didn't think a state without mountains could have that strenuous a hike, but now I know. It was beautiful; the waterfalls were not much more than trickles, but the trees were thick enough that we were in shade nearly the whole hike.

During the third week some of us got a tour of CAMD, LSU's Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, one of less than a dozen synchrotron radiation research and development centers in the country. The facility in Baton Rouge has a somewhat circular particle accelerator. Inside it electrons are accelerated to nearly the speed of light. Powerful magnets along the path bend the beam, and each place this is done an intense beam of x-rays is produced. On one side of the facility the x-ray beams are used for research such as discovering the molecular structure of viruses. On the other side the x-ray beams are used for engineering such as the production of microscopic machine components. For more details check their web site at

Drs. Romano, Anderson, and Whelan (some of our UTB professors) answered the main question I had on my computer program results. From that explanation I was able to compare my preliminary results to those from published studies and see that my results were off by a factor of 10 to 100. I had h(5 Hz)=0.000000000000000000000003 Hz-1/2 and they had h(5 Hz)=0.0000000000000000000003 Hz-1/2; oh well. I still have some bugs in my program...

This was as far as I got by the beginning of this week when it was time to prepare a presentation on whatever I had done. This was a 30 minute presentation on Wednesday. It will soon be available in electronic form. I'll send out a note when I have this up. Also, I will send out a note when I get some pictures from this trip up on my web site.

So that wraps up this year's trip to LIGO. Over the next few weeks I expect to correspond some more with my advisor and fellow students still at LIGO, continuing some further work on this gravity gradient project. In two weeks I will join the UTB relativity group in traveling to Washington state for the 4-day LSC conference. This LIGO Scientific Collaboration meeting will discuss (among other things) the progress of the upper limit scientific groups (using the initial engineering data to set upper limits on gravitational waves from various sources). It will meet at the other LIGO site, the one on the Hanford Reservation in southern Washington.

Image credits: Wm. Robert Johnston, © 2002

© 2002 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 6 August 2002.
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