Gravitational wave observatories are complex, interconnected systems that can tell us about the least-understood objects in the universe. Having worked on a few ways to improve our instruments, I am now learning what those instruments can see. Gravitational-wave physics and astronomy are about to begin a new era. Advanced LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, begins observations in autumn 2015. Operating two 4-km interferometric antennae, located in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, Advanced LIGO observatories have been built to see gravitational waves from three times the distance of Initial LIGO up to ten times further after further commissioning. Advanced Virgo and KAGRA, and possibly LIGO India, will join in coming years. This increase in sensitivity raises chances for an imminent first direct detection of gravitational waves and several fields of gravitational-wave astronomy, extending our knowledge beyond and complementary to the electromagnetic spectrum.
My research spans several fields of gravitational-wave astronomy, both in instrumentation and analysis. I spent almost two years at LIGO Hanford, including assisting in its demonstration of quantum squeezing (Nature Photonics 7 (2013) 613). Feedforward filtering (CQG 31 (2014) 105014) involves measuring auxiliary channels to cancel noise in searches. Data analysis is my current focus, processing the most recent science runs for signals from Scorpius X-1. The brightest X-ray source in the sky beside the sun, Sco X-1 is a Low Mass X-ray Binary, a neutron star accreting matter from its companion star and likely recycled to high spin frequencies. LMXBs such as Sco X-1 are promising candidates for continuous emission of gravitational waves from asymmetries in the star itself, both from accretion hotspots and from oscillation modes inside the star. A recent comparison of methods (PRD 92 (2015) 023006) shows that our searches could likely detect an astrophysically-plausible signal from Sco X-1 at Advanced LIGO design sensitivity. At the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, I am now involved with both of the most sensitive methods, and plan to run a search in the imminent observational data.Publications
Links to my publications on INSPIRE
and on the ADS database
Grant David Meadors began research with Maria Alessandra Papa at AEI Hannover/Golm in January 2015. His experience with gravitational wave astronomy began while an undergraduate at Reed College in Oregon. He did an undergraduate internship at LIGO Hanford Observatory in 2005 and at Caltech in 2007. Grant began working on his PhD in 2008 with Keith Riles at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, engaged in LIGO continuous wave searches and detector characterization. He spent much of 2010 & 2011 at Hanford Observatory as a LIGO Fellow, participating in the quantum squeezer experiment. He finished at Michigan in 2014. At AEI, Grant is currently searching for continuous gravitational waves from neutron stars in binary systems.
Please find a pdf version of my CV here