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 National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.
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