LIGO 2006

The 2006 LIGO workshop will focus on the physics behind the exhibits at LIGO.

We'll work at the exhibits and in a classroom with simple Snack versions of the exhibits.

We'll also investigate some basic scientific inquiry techniques.

This workshop will be based on LIGO we'll do activities derived from each part of the name.

Laser: We'll look at light, its spectrum, mirrors and images, and then at lasers.

Interferometric : We'll look at interference of light and then use the Michelson Interferometer

Gravity : We'll explore gravity and tides at the Gravity Well.

Wave : We'll look at waves in coiled phonecords and at the Giant Slinky.

Observatory : And everything will be based on Inquiry, on seeing and doing.

Go to the bottom of this page to see the connections for Paul's evening performance.

Introductory activity

Feel Temperature, Everyone will line up according to their hand temperature.

Minimag light explorations.

Locating Rays, Look at the bare bulb of a minimag light, notice the rays of light, where are they?

Afterimage: Stare ahead at a fixed point move the bare-bulb-minimag light around and study the afterimage.

Seeing Your Retina Stare at a black background, move the minimag light around and see the blood supply to your retina.

Shadow Size and Distance, Use the small lightsource of the maglite to study shadow size versus distance.

Laser explorations

Laser Light

Energy Level Model

Laser Speckle

Exhibits we will investigate.

Hot Light

Infrared remote control, see it with a digital camera

Spectrum Explorations

Spectrum from a diffraction grating

Anti-slit spectrum

Searching for spectra

Spectrometer CD

Distilled Light

Permanent Oil Slick

Soap Film in a can

Soap film colors

Soap Film interference

exhibit Soap Film Painting.


Diffraction, observe diffraction of light from a bright white point source by looking through a narrow slit.

Interference Laser

Two slit interference model

Math Root for Two Slit Interference

Poisson Spot

Laser CD

Laser Milk

Peel a CD

Michelson Interferometer

Visible Effects of the Invisible

Drawing Table II


Computer Stroboscope

Slow Waves on a phonecord

Harmonic Phonecord

exhibit Giant Slinky

exhibit Wave Machine

Visible Vibrations


Touch the Spring

Find images at a large planar mirror.

Mirrors and Left-Right reversal

Finding images using straws to look at images made by fresnel lenses

Scan a Laser mirror

Fresnel Lens and laser

Mirror Pairs

Gravity Well 

Tides Gravity Well, roll marbles in a gravity well to explore tides.

Reaction Timer, drop a ruler and use the acceleration of gravity to measure your reaction time.

Exhibit, Gravity's Rainbow.

Other exhibits at LIGO

Fading Motion

Image Relay

Pendulum Table

Pendulum, study period versus length

exhibit Pendulum Snake

Pendulum Snake

Phase Pendulum

Pendulum and a Turntable

Pipes of Pan

Resonant Rings

Rotating Pendulum

Standing Wave



2005 exhibits

Water Spinner

Pendulum Snake,

giant slinky,

wave machine,

resonating rods,


gravity's rainbow

soapfilm painting.

Paul's evening performance at LIGO

Straw Oboe

Playing the Whirly


Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2005

2 May 2006

More ideas