Science & Technology

UW Researchers Contributed To Gravitational Waves Breakthrough

UW-Milwaukee science faculty and students watch a National Science Foundation webfeed about the gravitational wave discovery.

Scientists at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are part of the multi-agency team that has measured gravitational waves for the first time.

More than two-dozen researchers at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee helped with computer code and computing infrastructure to help quickly analyze data from a network of gravitational-wave detectors. Last fall, the detectors measured the waves from the collision of two black holes about 1 billion light years away from Earth.

UWM Physics Professor Alan Wiseman said the discovery not only peers deeply into the structure of the universe — it could also help spur technological advances.

“This pushed optical technology and laser technology absolutely to the maximum, so there’s a technology spinoff,” he said.

Wiseman said many students in this field will go on to work for private technology companies.