LIGO Documentary Released
News Release • October 4, 2023
The Advanced LIGO Documentary project released the full feature "LIGO" documentary, to stream for free. The documentary won 14 film festival awards including two awards for best documentary, and can now be seen via YouTube, or this website. "LIGO" joins other Advanced LIGO documentary films by Les Guthman, as well as documentaries such as LIGO Detection by Kai Staats.
"LIGO" is the thrilling, award-winning, inside story of the discovery that topped National Geographic's list of “The top 20 Scientific Discoveries of the Decade": The Nobel Prize-winning discovery of gravitational waves from deep space. Between 2015 and 2017, two remarkable discoveries ushered in a radical new era in astronomy. First, two colliding black holes, and then, two years later, two crashing neutron stars (co-discovered by the Virgo detector) and their spectacular light show opened up the 95% of the universe that had been dark to our existing observatories and space telescopes.
It's the violent "warped side" of the universe predicted by Einstein -- but never seen until now. Brian Greene, the theoretical physicist and best-selling author, said, "This discovery is the kind of achievement that happens only a few times a century." Director Les Guthman witnessed and filmed this dramatic and emotional peak in the lives of the 1,000 scientists around the world who risked their careers on a 40-year, $1 billion search for these exquisite messengers from the warped side. The discovery earned the film's three principal characters, Rai Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. The documentary begins as Guthman did, arriving innocently at the LIGO Louisiana observatory in September 2015 and then almost immediately being swept up in one of the great human experiences, in science or otherwise, in recent history.