Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy

The CGWA Mission

The Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy was created by a grant from the University Research Centers program administered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 2003.

In 2007 it was also selected for funding under the Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) from the National Science Foundation.

The center currently possesses a varied portfolio of extra-institutional funding from various sources, including NASA, NSF, and DoD which totals more than $3 million per year.

The core mission of CGWA is to further scientific research and education in gravitational wave astronomy.

One of the most exciting new developments in physics is the imminent advent of gravitational wave astronomy - viewing the cosmos not with light and its electromagnetic complements like radio, x-rays, infrared, microwaves and gamma-rays, but rather with ripples of gravity, or gravitational waves. Viewed in this way, the universe will reveal details that cannot be observed by any other means, and many of its most enigmatic constituents, such as black holes, will be among the most visible objects in the sky.

To reap the full benefit of the scientific promise that gravitational wave astronomy embodies requires interaction from scientists across disciplines: astrophysicists, source modelers, data analysts and experimentalists. Data analysts rely on source modelers and astrophysicists to predict features of gravitational wave signals that will allow them to be extracted from instrumental noise. Source modelers rely on astrophysicists and data analysts to guide them in modeling the sources that are most likely to be observed. Astrophysicists use source modeling and signals extracted by data analysts to refine their astrophysical theories. Experimentalists are uniquely positioned to interact with data analysts to convey the intricacies and complexities of highly sophisticated detectors, an instrumental characterization, which is essential to be able to detect signals that are extremely weak and come from very far away.

A new window onto the universe will be opened when gravitational waves, after first detection, become a standard tool for observing the dynamics of strong gravitational fields: binary compact objects, collision of black-holes, neutron stars, supernovae explosions, even the murmurs from the very first instants of time when our universe came into being after a huge explosion; the knowledge obtained from studying all these phenomena will pose new questions and new challenges in our never ending quest to understand the universe.

CGWA scientists and students are active members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). LSC is a highly energetic group of 800 scientists worldwide collectively working with the LIGO observatories located in the USA and also with the VIRGO observatory, managed by a French and Italian consortium and located in Italy. They also work in different experimental and theoretical aspects of the mission planned by NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency) to put a gravitational wave antenna in space, the so-called LISA mission.

News Release

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years after Einstein’s Prediction

Contact Information

CGWA Director
Dr. Mario Diaz
Phone: 956-882-6690
Fax: 956-882-6722

CGWA Director of Education and Outreach:
Dr. Joey Shapiro Key
Cavalry 105 E
Phone: 956-882-6665