Title: Overview of LIGO


The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a facility dedicated to the detection of cosmic gravitational waves and the measurement of these waves for scientific research. It consists of two widely separated installations within the United States, operated in unison as a single observatory. After many years of construction, commissioning and short science runs, LIGO is now engaged in a long science run at design sensitivity. This talk will briefly describe the nature of gravitational waves, possible astrophysical sources of detectable gravitational waves, how LIGO works and the experimental challenges and limitations, the current status of LIGO including some recent science results and future plans for LIGO. The ensemble of the world’s capabilities for detecting gravitational waves and prospects for a coordinated international network of detectors will also be described.