Lower Saxony Prime Minister visits GEO600
Representatives of federal, state, and regional parliaments get a tour of the gravitational-wave detector
On 31 January 2017, the Lower Saxony Prime Minister together with other representatives of federal, state, and regional parliaments visited the gravitational-wave detector GEO600 near Sarstedt south of Hanover, Germany. The visit to the research institution which is unique in Germany was part of a tour of the electoral district of Markus Brinkmann (elected representative in the parliament of Lower Saxony).
GEO600 is operated by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Hanover and of the Leibniz Universität Hannover together with partner institutions in the UK. The detector is part of a global network of similar instruments and in a second observational run has been “listening” for further gravitational-wave signals since late November 2016.
The visitors were informed by the GEO600 scientists Harald Lück and Benno Willke about the development of the detector and the milestones reached from its founding days more than 20 years ago until the first direct detection of gravitational waves on 14 September 2015 by the LIGO instruments. Contributions from GEO600 as a development centre and testbed for advanced detector technology were crucial for this discovery of the century. In the future, GEO600 will continue its observations, and to develop and demonstrate novel technologies to improve the sensitivity of the next generation gravitational-wave detectors.