Stuart Ashton works at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana – one of the two LIGO observatories which made the first detection of gravitational waves, the ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein. Stuart is an opto-mechanical engineer in the Detector Engineering group at Livingston, whose goal it is to maintain the maximum quality up-time for the detector, so that LIGO may accomplish its scientific objective, to discover and observe gravitational waves from distant astrophysical sources.
Stuart completed his Ph.D in Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2010. He developed sensors and actuators that are employed in the Advanced LIGO suspensions. Whilst working for Caltech and situated at the LIGO Livingston Observatory, Stuart supported the assembly and installation effort and was responsible for the testing of the Advanced LIGO suspensions.
LIVE On Sunday on the Lovell Stage, Professor Tim O’Brien will be talking live to Dr Stuart Aston at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana. In February 2016, the LIGO observatory announced the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves – the ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein and in this case arising from the collision of two black holes over one billion years ago. This remarkable discovery marks the opening of a major new window on our study of the Universe.