EGO Control (Class)room

Link to the demonstrator: in English


Age: >16

Duration: 3 hours

Equipment: PC with internet connection

Contact details

Author: Dr. Valerio Boschi (EGO-Virgo)
Contact: info[at]frontiers-project[dot]eu


All big experiments like LHC or Virgo have a control room. It is there that all the magic happens! There all the troubles, successes, joy and despair of the experimental physicist life are concentrated. In this room tens of people workday and night together to improve the sensitivity of the detectors. The demonstrator allows the teacher to have in your class many of the screens present in the Virgo control room. This allows for several studies aimed at understanding the relationship between the detector and the environment. This activity is very close to the work done day by day by the physicists working on site. Supplementary materials about the discovery of gravitational waves, the birth of multi-messenger astronomy, the operating principle of the detector and its noises is also given.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Give an idea of the experimental challenges of gravitational wave detection.
  2. Give an idea of the work that physicists do in the Virgo control room.
  3. Let students understand the strong interaction between the environment and the detector.


Prior knowledge:

  • Newtonian Mechanics


Concepts introduced:

  • Gravitational Wave

  • Interferometer
  • Observing range (Parsec)

  • Fourier transform
  • Seismic Noise



Learning intentions:

By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to have an idea of:

  • What are gravitational waves
  • What is a laser interferometer and how it works
  • What are the noises that disturb the detector


Key activities:

  1. Slides with pictures and videos to engage
  2. Configure the PC or RPi to show Virgo real time data
  3. Familiarize with the Control Room tools (DMS, VIM, …)
  4. Analysis of recent data (sensitivity and range) respect to the environment (Wind speed, Sea activity…)
  5. Final report and discussion



By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to answer the following:

  1. What are gravitational waves? Why is gravitational wave detection so important?
  2. How can we detect gravitational waves?
  3. What is a control room?
  4. How does the environment interact with GW detectors

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