LIGO uses mirrors and Interferometers to measure how space and time are stretched and squashed by significant cosmic events such as black hole collisions. Below the “V” of the beam tube, scientists work in teams; above it are detected events, such as earthquakes, representing the data that must be combed through to find the signals. Since it is a human endeavor representing a long history, many different observatories from Korea, Egypt, Inca, India, and others are pictured with historical figures of Physics. Attached as well is a “Key” to explaining the events depicted.

Published by

Jim Barry

Jim Barry works in various mediums, from watercolor and silk to immersive reality-generated art; he is the Director of Visual Arts in the Performing and Fine Arts Department of Caltech. His work has been profiled and exhibited in dozens of solo and group shows.
He spent many years painting and exhibiting in Francophone West Africa, particularly Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. He continues to maintain websites for science groups there.
In the early 2000s, he was the main driver behind a CAVE-based implementation of a new CVGoo designed and coded by Santiago Lombeyda. This new version allowed him to export his results in high resolution for prints and Open Inventor scenes, which can still be opened and experienced in virtual or augmented reality.
He enjoys developing art that depicts the human origins of technology. His LIGO painting shows teamwork reinforcing individuals. It shows detections of noise that were key to refining the sensing. A world history of astronomy is included through observatories of the Korean, Chinese, Inca, Indian, and Egyptian, with European figures... since LIGO is, at its heart, an observatory developed by a global team.
Lately, I have been interested in the flood of data that arrives when new satellites come online. Often grads and postdocs are the ones who make sense of it. They simplify and explain, enabling us to see further.

This artwork is copyright © Jim Barry. All rights reserved.