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Interview with Vladimir B. Braginsky

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  • Ligo
  • Physics
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  • Physics


Interview, January 15, 1997, with Vladimir B. Braginsky, experimental physicist, Moscow State University. Recalls family background and childhood in the USSR during World War II. Matriculates at Moscow State University 1955, PhD 1959, joins faculty 1969. Work with Y. B. Zel'dovich on search for quarks and detection of gravitational radiation; work with Vitaly Ginzburg on detecting time dependence of gravitational constant. Comments on Andrei Sakharov. Joins Communist Party in Khrushchev era. Science hierarchy in the USSR. Constraints on foreign travel. Meets John A. Wheeler in 1968 at international conference; gives a talk on quantum measurement; invited to visit Princeton, Harvard, University of Maryland, and Caltech, 1970. Discusses Joseph Weber's gravitational-wave experiment. Admiration for Kip S. Thorne. Early impressions of LIGO project on visits to Caltech in 1981 and 1984. His group at Moscow State University becomes LIGO collaborator. Comments on 1962 work of M. E. Gerzenstein and V. I. Pustovoit in gravitational-wave detection. Visit from Thorne in Moscow, 1977, with invitation to join LIGO. Comments on R. W. P. Drever and Rainer Weiss; on disagreements between Drever and Rochus (Robbie) Vogt, LIGO director 1987-1994. Fairchild Scholar at Caltech, 1990; LIGO's technical difficulties; project's disarray. Expresses optimism re LIGO directorship of Barry Barish and potential improvements in LIGO sensitivity. His laboratory's work on mirror suspension.

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