Ministerial visit to the Institute for Gravitational Research
Published: 16 June 2009
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop visited the Institute for Gravitational Research on Tuesday 16 June.
University Principal Sir Muir Russell welcomed the minister to the Kelvin Building and delivered a brief introduction to the work of the Institute. Fiona Hyslop met Professor John Chapman, Dean of Department of Physics and Astronomy, and leading scientists working in gravitational wave detection Professors Jim Hough and Sheila Rowan before a tour of the new and refurbished laboratory in the building.
Professor Sheila Rowan said: “We are delighted that this new laboratory, supported by Scottish Funding Council investment, will underpin both our core research and help us work more closely with Scottish industry.”
Gravitational waves - waves in the curvature of space-time generated by the motion of massive objects, such as two stars or two black holes orbiting each other - are a prediction of General Relativity. The world renowned Institute for Gravitational Research at Glasgow University is developing detectors and signal analysis methods to search for gravitational waves from astrophysical sources.
The detection and study of gravitational radiation is of great scientific importance. It should reveal new information about a variety of astrophysical systems including supernova explosions, black hole formation and pulsars. It is also possible that unexpected discoveries will be made through the research, in much the same way as has occurred in radio and x-ray astronomy.
The group in Glasgow has been involved in both experimental development and data analysis for around 37 years.
Fiona Hyslop has been instrumental to the Scottish Government’s strategic framework for science which aims to maintain and enhance Scotland’s world-class scientific achievement and make the country a powerhouse of technology, innovation and enterprise.
Maintaining a strong science base in Scotland is vital and Ms Hyslop is committed to developing individuals, scientific research, economic and business demand, international profile and connections in Scotland and government.
First published: 16 June 2009