The Glasgow LISA Pathfinder team wins a Sir Arthur Clarke Award

The Glasgow LISA Pathfinder team wins a Sir Arthur Clarke Award

Issued: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 15:24:00 GMT

The University of Glasgow's LISA Pathfinder team won the 2016 Sir Arthur Clarke Award for "Space Achievement in Academic Research or Study" at an awards ceremony held at The Royal Society in London on Thursday 27th October. The award acknowledged their work in developing the Optical Bench Interferometer (OBI) for the ESA LISA Pathfinder mission which was launched in December 2015 and has since exceeded all expectations. The Glasgow team saw off competition from The UK GAIA Science Team and Dr Alex Brinkmeyer of Oxford Space Systems.

The Glasgow OBI is the heart of the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft. It monitors, with picometre precision, the distance between two free-flying test masses to test the concept and practicality of flying a gravitational wave observatory in space. Driven by the extreme accuracy required, the design, development and qualification of the OBI has been a long and very challenging programme, with work on the Flight Model commencing back in 2005. Advanced bonding techniques were refined by the OBI team to meet the unprecedented component placement accuracies required. Harry Ward’s expertise and inspirational leadership and the dedication and inventiveness of the 5-person team were fundamental to the success of this programme. With the recent dramatic first detection of gravitational waves by a LIGO in the US, LISA Pathfinder has now paved the way for the flight in the early 2030s of ESA’s flagship gravitational wave observatory.


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