The European Physical Journal H

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 267–302

Birth and initial developments of experiments with resonant detectors searching for gravitational waves


DOI: 10.1140/epjh/e2016-70036-8

Cite this article as:
Pizzella, G. EPJ H (2016) 41: 267. doi:10.1140/epjh/e2016-70036-8


A history of the experiments for the search of gravitational waves, with emphasis on the experiments made by the Rome group, is given. The search for gravitational waves was initiated by the brilliant scientific acumen of Joseph Weber. In this paper we start from the early times of the resonant detectors at room temperature and continue with the cryogenic resonant detectors: STANFORD, ALLEGRO, AURIGA, EXPLORER, NAUTILUS and NIOBE. These cryogenic detectors reached a sensitivity able to observe gravitational waves generated by the conversion of about 0.001 solar masses in the Galaxy. This was an improvement by a factor of a few thousand in energy with respect to the early room temperature experiments. No clear signals due to gravitational waves have been observed with this technique. This research, that has lasted four decades, has paved the way to the more sensitive detectors for gravitational waves, the long-arm laser interferometers, which announced, on February 12th 2016, the first observation of gravitational waves.

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INFN Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, Frascati RMItaly

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