Two amazing weeks in the USA

Art meets Science at LIGO (in Livingston, Louisiana).

My USA trip of the last two weeks was the first one outside of New York City. I visited Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. I ate crawfish, shrimp, catfish, alligator, gumbo, jambalaya, boudin and a lot of other Cajun specialties. I rode horseback as a real cowgirl, and rode on the back of a motorcycle. Before going to the South, I attended two classes at Malisa Theatre Academy in New York and worked on the English version of the Blanche monologue (from A Streetcar Named Desire).

But what is of most interest to post here, is that I went to see theĀ  LIGO observatory in Livingston, Louisiana. LIGO is the LASER INTERFEROMETER GRAVITATIONAL-WAVE OBSERVATORY, and is designed to measure gravitational waves: ripples in our space time fabric. General relativity predicts these gravitational waves, but we haven’t measured any yet.

The trajectory of balls are elliptical or circular paths because spacetime is bent by heavy mass.

Our instruments are only sensitive to very big events such as colliding neutron stars. However, we haven’t seen that happen yet. We have to be patient, and in the meantime we’re making the instruments as precise as possible, which means that we need to take all possible biases away.

LIGO was amazing. No tours were scheduled on Wednesdays, but after I called them and explained that I was visiting Louisiana from the Netherlands, they contacted me the next morning that I could come for a visit. William Katzman showed us around and we are very grateful he took the time to answer all our questions.

After I came back from Louisiana to New York City again, I saw the one man show Macbeth performed by Alan Cumming on Broadway.

My trip has definitely been one that gave me new experiences in both theatre and science.