As part of both the 2009 and 2010 World Science Festivals, the exhibit for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration enjoyed two public openings. After its initial presentation in New York, NY, the LIGO exhibit traveled to host institutions throughout the US. In the following year, an expanded version of the exhibit appeared, again in New York, with designs informed by studies of visitors’ interactions with the traveling version. Throughout its life, the exhibit has reached young adults, ages 14 – 21, potentially inspiring them into the
field of astrophysics.
In the LIGO exhibit, beauty, more than mere spectacle, is an indication of something profound, a key to unlocking cosmological mysteries. With content provided by the LIGO Collaboration and an undulating architectural enclosure and graphic system that reference gravitational waves, the exhibit’s centerpiece is a point of interaction between visitors, an actual interferometer and a dazzling light artwork by Leni Schwendinger suspended overhead. Mimicking events in the universe, visitors vocally produce bursts, chirps and pulses that send patterns through the sculpture and are detected by the interferometer. LHSA+DP was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with a host of experts in this exciting new field of science.
200 sf (traveling)
Opened June 2009
Re-opened June 2010