prototype for Radio Frequency Modulated Test Interferometer

Object Number: 2017.013.001
About Above Photo
| 2017.013.001-1
Place Made
Cambridge
Date Made
1974
Description
Metal prototype section, tubular with closed ends. The apparatus can be fully seen when removed from the outer protective shell. Twelve screws can be removed to separate the outer shell from the inner core. The inner core is 22" l x 10" h x 10" h and contains a large rhomboid clear beam splitter nearest the end plate, followed by a rectangular block, followed by a far rectangular section controlled by the two knobs on the front via long shafts. In a 1972 quarterly report of the MIT Research Laboratory for Electronics, Physics Professor Rainer Weiss first reported a novel research project to construct a new instrument to detect gravitational waves using an interferometer. The National Science Foundation funded Weiss' proposal to build a 1.5 meter prototype of an "Interferometric Broad Band Gravitational Antenna." In the early stages of constructing the antenna, Weiss became very anxious about a key aspect of the antenna design. He designed and built this small device to test the electro-optic modulators that had been incorporated into design of the 1.5 meter prototype. Weiss currently guesses that he built the device in 1974. This project led to LIGO - Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory - the large scale physics observatory that first detected gravity waves, research for which Professor Weiss was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017.

More Details

Additional information
In a 1972 quarterly report of the MIT Research Laboratory for Electronics, Physics Professor Rainer Weiss first reported a novel research project to construct a new instrument to detect gravitational waves using an interferometer. The National Science Foundation funded Weiss' proposal to build a 1.5 meter prototype of an "Interferometric Broad Band Gravitational Antenna." In the early stages of constructing the antenna, Weiss became very anxious about a key aspect of the antenna design. He designed and built this small device to test the electro-optic modulators that had been incorporated into design of the 1.5 meter prototype. Weiss currently guesses that he built the device in 1974.
Materials
Glass, Metal, Wire
Measurements
24.5" l x 10" d x 10" h
Item Count
1
Cite This Item
"prototype for Radio Frequency Modulated Test Interferometer", Prototype, 1974. MIT Museum, Cambridge MA. https://collections.mitmuseum.org/object/2017-013-001/
Copyright Restrictions
Some restrictions on use. Please contact MIT Museum.
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