Older News (2011-2012)

22.10.2012 - Some software updates

Thanks to Reinier Jonker at NIKHEF we can now also provide a Dutch version of Space Time Quest. We have also posted a new Processing sketch Reflection which demonstrated how electromagnetic waves behave at an optical surface.

At the moment all our interactive applets are based on Java applets, but because Java is disappearing from browsers more and more we plan to re-post all the interactive sketches as HTML5+Javascript, making use of Processing's Javascript mode.

Processing logo

13.09.2012 - Space Time Quest 1.2 released

A new version of Space Time Quest has been released. If you want to know how we design gravitational wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO or the Einstein Telescope, download the game and try for yourself!

Space Time Quest logo
The main changes are:
  • The Windows version now comes as a native program with a proper installer. So, no Java requirements anymore! This should make the program much more accessible!
  • The game is now available in Chinese, thanks to Mengyao Wang who performed the translation!
  • We fixed a bug that sometimes caused a magic increase in the budget. The high scores should be more accurate now.
  • But, yes, the infamous parrot is still around.

12.09.2012 - The new LIGO Magazine

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) today has published the first issue of a new magazine: The LIGO Magazine has been designed for the scientific collaboration itself as the main audience. However, it is published as a free download (pdf file) and I believe that this magazine is an interesting read also for people outside that community. It contains a lot of articles, stories and fascinating photos, have a look!

LIGO Magazine issue1

05.09.2012 - History and impact of Finesse

It is now 15 years since we had the idea to create the interferometer simulation Finesse. The software has been used for more than 10 years to design and improve optical systems and it is time to have a look at the impact it had. I have started collecting references to scientific reports and papers that reference Finesse and so far I have found 56 such documents. Have a look at that list and read about the History and Impact of Finesse! Please let me know if you know of other documents that should be listed here.

virtual Finesse package

03.06.2012 - Lies and statistics for gwoptics.org

During the last weeks I had a look at the gwoptics.org user statistics. Here is quick summary in case you are interested (or you can have a look at some plots): The data extracted from the webserver logfiles show a steady and fast increase in visitors to gwoptics.org since its launch, with currently an average of 140 unique visitors per day and more than 100,000 page impressions per month.

gwoptics statistics

Google currently counts more than 1500 incoming links to the gwoptics webpage. Within one year from its first release we have achieved almost 10,000 downloads of Space Time Quest and have close to 5000 downloads for Black Hole Pong. The online high-scores table for Space Time Quest shows over 5000 entries.

18.03.2012 - Open source release of Finesse

Our interferometer simulation Finesse has become open source! Not only can you download the source code, but we have also setup a professional Redmine project page for Finesse with a bug tracker, a Wiki, user forums and an easy way to view the code online. Have a look around and get involved! We are happy to help by answering questions in the forums and welcome any kind of contribution to the development of Finesse.

virtual Finesse package

In addition the main Finesse page has been improved, now hosting more examples and links to useful tools. Please let me know if you have an interesting Finesse example to share!

21.02.2012 - Photos from around the GW community

For a while I have been posting the odd photo from around the gravitational wave community on my tumblr blog: http://gwoptics.tumblr.com/. If you would like to share some interesting pictures, please let me know!

18.02.2012 - Upgrade your optical layouts

Do you sometimes need an illustration of an optical layout? Then ComponentLibrary might be something for you!

Example
	illustration created with the ComponentLibray

This free and open vector graphics library of optics components has been used to illustrate a great many notes, papers and PhD thesis. Now, it's your turn to upgrade your optical layouts! ComponentLibray has been developed by Alexander Franzen at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover.

17.11.2011 - New paper on our Processing activities

Our first paper on using Processing for science outreach has been submitted and is now available on the pre-print server: http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.3899. The paper describes some of the background for the existence of this webpage, i.e. the idea to develop small computer applications to be used for educational purposes and to teach gravitational waves physics. Our Processing sketches are the main result of this activity with the two computer-games related to gravitational wave science: Black Hole Pong and Space Time Quest as the highlights.

11.11.2011 - Space Time Quest 1.1.0 released

A new version of Space Time Quest has been released today. We fixed some bugs and changed the way the final score is computed: instead of a detection range you now collect events, i.e. detections of supernovae, neutron stars and black holes. You can see the new score system in action in our online hall of fame.

As part of our effort to translate our material into other languages Space Time Quest is now also available in Spanish!

31.10.2011 - Translations of our gravitational wave Ebook

Our GW Ebook, a collection of short texts explaining the basics of gravitational wave detection, is now available in several languages! Do you ever wonder how to say `A Laser is a very special type of light source' in Spanish, German, Italian or Chinese? Well, here is your chance to find out! Also, if you have non-English speaking friends who are interested in science or astronomy, maybe you could introduce them to gravitational waves using these pages.

11.09.2011 - Squeezed light at GEO 600

Today, Nature Physics has published a paper about the implementation of squeezed light at the GEO 600 detector: `A gravitational wave observatory operating beyond the quantum shot-noise limit', http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NPHYS2083. For the first time the squeezed light technology has been used to increase the sensitivity of an astronomical observatory. The same technology is scheduled to be tested at the Advanced LIGO detectors.


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