Recommended Reading, Video

Below are some videos and print items related to the U.S. National Science Foundation Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (NSF LIGO) that we recommend to anyone interested in learning more about NSF LIGO and its mission, or about gravitational waves in general.


Movies and videos -- general interest


Advanced LIGO Documentary Project

The Advanced LIGO Documentary Project is a collaboration among Caltech, MIT, the LIGO Laboratory and director Les Guthman that has made the feature documentary, "LIGO," and an multi-part video series, "The Discovery that Shook the World," about LIGO’s major gravitational wave discoveries in 2015-2017 and the birth of the new era of gravitational wave astronomy.

Episode 9, aLIGO SNAPS (released December 10, 2019)

Episode 8, LIGO and Beyond (released October 21, 2019)

Episodes 6, Movies Made from Numbers and 7, Stockholm (released October 18, 2019)

Episodes 4, Inventing LIGO and 5, Advanced LIGO (released October 14, 2019)

Episode 3, So Many Staggering Insights about Our Universe (released February 22, 2018)

Episode 2, The New Age of Gravitational Wave Astronomy (released August 9, 2017)

Episode 1, Mirrors that Hang on Glass Threads (released February 16, 2017)



  • Ripples on a cosmic sea: the search for gravitational waves (David Blair, Geoff McNamara, Perseus Publishing 1997). An early account of the development of gravitational wave detectors written by one of the pioneers. A great introductory read, even though it was published 18 years before LIGO's historic first detection.
  • Einstein's Unfinished Symphony: The Story of a Gamble, Two Black Holes, and a New Age of Astronomy. (Marcia Bartusiak, Yale University Press). This updated version of Bartusiak's "Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time" recounts the long hunt for Einstein’s predicted gravitational waves—and celebrates their recent discovery.
  • Gravity’s Kiss (Harry Collins; MIT Press). This book continues the work on gravitational waves that Harry Collins began with Gravity’s Ghost and Gravity’s Shadow. It is written at a very accessible level and serves as an insider account of the discovery of gravitational waves, from the very first email to the first published paper and the response of the public.
  • Gravity’s Shadow  (Harry Collins;  University of Chicago Press)
  • Gravity's Ghost and Big Dog: Scientific Discovery and Social Analysis in the Twenty-First Century (Harry Collins; University of Chicago Press)
  • Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time  (Marcia Bartusiak;  Berkley Books)
  • Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy (Thorne; W. W. Norton & Company, Commonwealth Fund Book Program). Beautifully and accessibly written by LIGO's Kip Thorne.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Thought: Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves (Daniel Kennefick; Princeton University Press)
  • The Science of Interstellar  (Thorne; W. W. Norton & Company)


Educational videos