Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in the development of gravitational-wave astronomy through the LIGO Project. This intensive summer program takes place each year at Caltech, funded in part through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program of the National Science Foundation. Undergraduate students from all institutions (both U.S. and foreign) are invited to apply to the LIGO Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Research awards include a summer stipend and some funding for travel to Caltech as needed.
Selected applicants who identify themselves as under-represented minorities will be contacted to inquire if they wish to participate in Caltech's WAVE program or to be considered for a Carl Albert Rouse Fellowship or a Victor M. Blanco Fellowship. See the WAVE page for details.
The LIGO Project is an NSF-supported endeavor to design, build, and operate an astrophysical observatory for the detection and study of gravitational radiation. The observatory includes two sites (Hanford, Washington and Livingston Parish, Louisiana) with laser interferometric detector systems. (More about LIGO and gravitational waves.) The aim of the LIGO Summer Undergraduate Research Program is to organize the participation of undergraduate students in research associated with the LIGO Project.
Range of projects
LIGO research projects may cover many areas of science and engineering related to the detection of gravitational radiation, including:
- Laboratory projects in mechanical, laser, optical, and electronic systems
- Modeling and analysis of optomechanical systems
- Software development projects, including searching LIGO data for gravitational wave signals from astrophysical sources
- Modeling of astrophysical sources of gravitational radiation
LIGO Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows will pursue research projects under the mentorship of one or more LIGO Laboratory scientists and/or engineers: faculty, postdocs, graduate students, scientific and engineering staff members, and expert visitors. They are all actively pursuing research and development in the science of gravitational waves, the astrophysics of their sources, and their detection via high-precision metrology. You can count on your mentor being a world expert in their field, passionate about their work, and enthusiastic about developing your research skills.