Highlights: Jess in the press

Dr. Jess McIver at Caltech

Open Data Workshop 1
A screenshot of Jess's lecture for the workshop and web course.

May 15, 2018

The full lectures and code exercises from the first LIGO-Virgo Open Data Workshop are now available as a web course! This web course features both in-depth lectures and step-by-step python notebook tutorials to access and analyze the data. It's a great resource for new students working with LIGO or Virgo, or anyone interested in working with public LIGO/Virgo data. Check it out on LIGO Open Science Center website!

Black Holes
LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)

May 10, 2018

Jess will give a physics and astronomy department seminar Making history: the science behind the LIGO-Virgo gravitational wave discoveries' at Cal Poly Ponoma Thursday May 10 at 11:00 in Building 8. Read more about the Cal Poly Ponoma physics and astronomy programs on the CPP website.

Hixon Writing Center Flyer

May 7, 2018

Jess will participate in a panel on May 7 about the importance of developing writing and reading skills in STEM fields during graduate school. Organized by Caltech's Hixon Writing Center, Jess and her fellow panels will share experiences and expertise with Caltech seniors to help them prepare to be effective communicators in graduate school and beyond. Check out more great programs available at the Hixon Writing Center!

April 22, 2018

Jess will contribute to deep machine learning for astronomy as co-investigator of a grant funded by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum. Part of a broader effort to promote partnerships in STEM fields across India and the U.S., the grant will focus on developing machine learning tools for several areas of the time-domain astronomy, including gravitational wave astronomy with LIGO. Read more on the Caltech PMA website!

Comparison of LIGO-Virgo event time series
Caltech/MIT/LIGO Laboratory.

March 6, 2018

Jess will present a public seminar Gravitational wave astrophysics: a new era of discovery at Mount Holyoke College on March 6th, 2018 at 4:15 pm. Read more on the Mount Holyoke College website!

February 25, 2018

Jess will participate as a panelist in the 11th Annual Ph.D. Panel at San Diego State University, sponsored by the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) and Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) on Friday, March 9th, 2018. A panel of STEM Ph.D. recipients will answer students' questions and discuss how to succeed in graduate school and beyond. Read more on the SDSU MARC website!

MARC logo
LIGO-Livingston data

February 15, 2018

Announcing the LIGO Scientific Collaboration's first LIGO Open Data Workshop! This workshop will give scientists a hands-on introduction to LIGO-Virgo analyses and software and enable them to access and process publicly available gravitational wave data. Jess will give an overview of LIGO data and data quality. The workshop will be held March 25-27, 2018 on the Caltech campus. Read more and register on!

February 1, 2018

Members of the LIGO Detector Characterization group visited the LIGO Livingston observatory January 31 - February 1, 2018 to meet with instrument commissioners and discuss preparations for the third LIGO-Virgo observing run. As part of the meeting, students from Georgia Tech, the University of Mississippi, Louisiana State University, and Cal State Fullerton were able to tour the site and discuss their work.

DetChar at LIGO-Livingston The Detector Characterization group at LIGO Livingston. Credit: Shrobana Ghosh.
Science BreakthroughScience magazine.

December 22, 2017

Observation of the "Cosmic Convergence" of two neutron stars by LIGO, Virgo, and astronomer partners around the world was awarded the 2017 Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine. Read more on!


December 11, 2017

Physics World awards the Physics World 2017 Breakthrough of the Year to the "international team of astronomers and astrophysicists that ushered in a new era of astronomy by making the first ever multimessenger observation involving gravitational waves." Read more!

December 4, 2017

This December the LIGO Laboratory data analysis group at Caltech celebrated the end of an exciting year. In 2017 the LIGO and Virgo collaborations announced three new black hole collisions as well as the spectacular discovery of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger and the first-ever electromagnetic counterpart associated with a gravitational wave signal. Analysis of data from the second observing run is still ongoing. Stay tuned!

CIT DA group The LIGO Laboratory's data analysis science group at Caltech. K. Blackburn.
LSC/LIGO/Caltech/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)LSC/LIGO/Caltech/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet).

November 15, 2017

The LIGO and Virgo collaborations announce the fifth detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes, observed on June 8th 2016. Gizmodo declares: "Black Holes Slamming Together Officially 'Routine'".

NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. SimonnetNSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet.

October 24, 2017

Jess gives a seminar for the Caltech/JPL Association for Gravitational-Wave Research (CaJAGWR) seminar series at Caltech. Watch here.

LIGO/Virgo/T. Dietrich (FSU/AEI); BAM CollaborationLIGO/Virgo/T. Dietrich (FSU/AEI); BAM Collaboration.

October 16, 2017

LIGO and Virgo announce the discovery of gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars! Thanks to astronomer partners around the world, GW170817 was also the first gravitational wave with an associated electromagnetic counterpart observed.

This ground-breaking results, gravitational waves and light in concert, have had profound implications for astrophysics, dense-matter physics, gravitation, and cosmology. The discovery paper is now published in PRL. A full list of companion papers is posted on the LIGO lab website.

October 3, 2017

Congratulations to Rai Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish for winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves"! The gravitational wave community is very proud. See this Popular Science article for a celebration of the contributions of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and others to the momentous achievement of the first direct observation of gravitational waves.

Image credit: Nobel Media/Ill. N. Elmehed Illustrations by the Nobel Media/Ill. N. Elmehed.

Sept 27, 2017

The gravitational wave signal GW170814, originating from two merging black holes, was observed in LIGO and Virgo data on August 14, 2017. This is the first reported observation of a gravitational wave signal in the LIGO and Virgo detectors after Virgo joined the second Advanced LIGO observing run on August 1, 2017. This observation is now published in PRL.

July 8, 2017

Jess had the great pleasure of taking part in the Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics 2017 on Astrophysics with gravitational wave detections at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark during July-August, 2017.

June 1, 2017

Jess delivered the annual public Mandel Lecture at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz hosted by the University of California Santa Cruz and sponsored by Steve Mandel and Carol Foote.

Image credit: LIGO lab/Caltech

April 28, 2017

Jess gave the Doc Morris and John D. Schopp Memorial Public Lecture at San Diego State University on "LIGO and the Beginning of Gravitational Wave Astronomy”.

TASSGW group photo

March 23, 2017

Jess gave a talk at the Time series analysis for synoptic surveys and gravitational wave astronomy (TASSGW) program at the International Center for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in Bengaluru, India. The TASSGW program was co-sponsored by ICTS and the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) as part of a SAMSI year-long program on Astronomy.

Image credit: LIGO lab/Caltech Photo by TJ Massinger

Feb 24, 2017

Successful LIGO Detector Characterization meeting at LIGO-Livingston.
This past week, members of LIGO's 'DetChar' group convened at the LIGO detector in Livingston, Louisiana to discuss progress in characterizing the Advanced LIGO detectors during their second observing run and plans for the coming years.

Jan 30, 2017

Jess presented work on exploring the impact of Advanced LIGO transient noise on the estimation of astrophysical parameters of binary black hole coalescences at the 2017 APS April meeting in Washington DC.

Dec 19, 2016

Jess visited her alma mater, Mohonasen High School. She met with four classes, over 100 students, to speak about gravitational waves, LIGO, what it's like to be a scientist and how to use critical thinking skills to read news about science. After school she ran a coding workshop aimed at girls on basic html and how to build a website (using CodeAcademy). Read more in the Daily Gazette.

Dec 1, 2016

Jess and Caltech graduate student Max Isi represented LIGO at the Legislative Staffers Caltech Holiday Reception, joining other scientists speaking about Caltech and JPL science efforts to members of the California and LA governments.

Oct 15, 2016

Jess joined other LIGO Scientific Collaboration members at the 2016 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference in Long Beach, CA. Jess gave a talk in the Gravitational Wave Astronomy scientific symposium session, which generated strong interest among SACNAS attendees. (All photos by LIGO-Hanford lead operator Corey Gray.)

Sept 22, 2016

Jess gave a talk on "LIGO and the Beginning of Gravitational Wave Astronomy" at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Thursday, September 22, 2016 as part of an ongoing series of seminar free and open to the public sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates and Brookhaven Women in Science.

2016 Blanco fellows 2016 Blanco fellows Danielle Frostig and Michael Antia and their mentors.

Aug 15, 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 Victor M. Blanco Fellowship recipients Danielle Frostig (Harvard University) and Michael Antia (University of Central Florida)! The Blanco Fellowships are sponsored by the National Society of Hispanic Physicists and awarded to outstanding students in the LIGO Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. Michael Antia worked with Jess on noise hunting in Advanced LIGO during the 2016 LIGO SURF program.

Feb 12, 2016

Jess wrote a summary of the GW150914 Detector Characterization companion paper for the general public in CQG+ which explains how we can be sure the GW150914 gravitational wave detection was astrophysical and not the result of terrestrial noise. This summary benefitted greatly from the addition of illustrative comics by the talented Nutsinee Kijbunchoo, a former operator at LIGO-Hanford and current graduate student at ANU. (

Feb 11, 2016 Jess and an NPR reporter at LIGO-Livingston.

Feb 11, 2016

The announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes at the LIGO-Livingston observatory! The site staff and visiting scientists took questions from visitors and the local media after a screening of the press conference in Washington, DC.