Press Statement 16-005
Statement from NSF Director on LIGO-India MOU
March 31, 2016
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Today, National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France A. Córdova signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to lead the way for establishing an advanced gravitational-wave detector in India. The MOU was also signed by representatives from India's Department of Atomic Energy and India's Department of Science and Technology.
NSF's funding of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and the science behind its operation and research began in the 1970s. On Feb. 11, 2016, LIGO scientists announced they had detected gravitational waves, emanating from the merger of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago. Their findings were announced at an NSF-organized press conference, which included representation from LIGO's many international partners and more than 1,000 collaborators. This discovery offers new scientific capability to observe and study our universe. For more information, visit NSF's LIGO special report.
"Today is an exciting day because it offers the promise of deepening our understanding and opening an even wider window to our universe. This MOU is the first step toward an additional gravitational wave detector, located in India. With this new commitment to collaboration, NSF's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (better known as LIGO), and its hundreds of associated scientists worldwide, are positioned to take this nascent field of gravitational wave science to the next level. Once in place, a third detector would be able to 'triangulate' the source of gravitational waves and thus make other, more detailed observations. We look forward to working closely with our Indian colleagues in this endeavor to further our knowledge of the most energetic phenomena in the cosmos."
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.