Highlights: Jess in the press

Dr. Jess McIver at Caltech

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 talk about 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.