The LIGO Laboratory is the largest member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). Established in 1997, the LSC includes over 900 scientists from 18 different countries. The LSC carries out the science of the LIGO Observatories in Louisiana and Washington State, and that of the GEO600 detector in Hannover, Germany. It is organized around three general areas of research: analysis of LIGO and GEO data searching for gravitational waves from astrophysical sources, detector operations and characterization, and development of future large scale gravitational wave detectors.
As the largest member of the LSC, the LIGO Lab plays a special role in the Collaboration, and members of the LSC play special roles in the LIGO Laboratory. For example, the LSC Spokesperson is a member of the LIGO Laboratory Directorate, and the Directorate is responsible for the Collaboration's scientific direction. The LIGO Lab participates fully in the Collaboration, holding (by election or by appointment) a number positions of leadership of Collaboration entities, and the Lab follows Collaboration rules for publications, presentations, and in sharing LIGO data with the greater scientific community. In turn, the Collaboration contributes significantly to the Lab’s mission of developing gravitational-wave detectors, running the Observatories, and generally furthering the field. For further information on the LSC and how to join the Collaboration, see the LSC website.
Graduate students and some undergraduates work within the Collaboration to engage in research for their degrees while contributing original science to the Collaboration. Many of these students continue on as scientists both at the LIGO Laboratory and at many of the other institutions that are members of the LSC.
To see the current list of institutions and the number of scientists working at each, visit the LSC/Virgo Census Page.