Giles Hammond joined Cadbury Sixth Form College in 1990 to study Physics, Maths and Chemistry. Following his studies at Cadbury, Giles studied in Birmingham before getting a faculty position at the University of Glasgow.
During his time at Glasgow, Giles has been leading the development of the suspensions installed in advanced LIGO, which has just detected gravitational waves!
Dr. Hammond said: “In order to measure the very small effect gravitational waves, the mirrors need to be kept isolated from every possible factor which could interfere with the measurements, right down to the vibration of the mirrors’ molecules due to thermal fluctuations. The fused silica suspension system we’ve developed plays a major role in keeping the mirrors utterly isolated from external factors. The fibres which hold the mirrors in place are 60cm long and are stronger than steel, and are attached to the side of the mirror surface using laser power from a carbon dioxide laser. What we hope to achieve by measuring gravitational waves is to gain a greater understanding of the nature of the universe. The first direct detection of gravitational waves will be a spectacular confirmation of a key prediction of General Relativity. Beyond this lie opportunities for discoveries in astrophysics, cosmology and fundamental physics, where gravitational wave astronomy provides unique tools for detecting and studying phenomena in extreme environments, unobservable by other means."
Speaking about his time at Cadbury College, Giles commented that he always very much valued the support from the college, and specifically from the teaching staff in his departments who were able to offer invaluable support and advice throughout his studies.
Cadbury College would like to congratulate Giles on his recent achievements, and wish him the best of luck with his future projects.
To all our current students, #BeInspired by Giles' story - you will never know what you're capable of achieving without taking every opportunity to learn and grow!