The University of Western Australia

Department of Physics



Australian International Gravitational Observatory


Pictures of the Opening of the First Stage of AIGO
10 March 2000

Aerial view of AIGO


The first stage of AIGO (the cornerstation, endstations and facilities housing the Advanced Research Interferometer) was opened by the Premier of
Western Australia, the Hon. R. Court,  on 10 March 2000. The opening was held in conjunction with lectures by visiting distinguished physicists,
Professor B. Barish (Director of LIGO, USA), Professor A. Giazotto (Director, VIRGO, Italian/French collaboration) and Professor R. Ruffini
(President, International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics) under the auspices of the Institute of Advanced Studies of The University of Western Australia.

With Professor.G. Stewart, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, UWA, as Master of Ceremonies, the following speakers were included in the program:
Professor D. Schreuder, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UWA
The Hon Richard Court MLA, Premier of Western Australia
The Hon. Ms. Moylan MP
Ms. Alannah MacTiernan representing Dr. G. Gallop, Leader of the W.A. State Opposition
Mr. G. Morton, President, Shire of Gingin
Mr. R. Bropho, Aboriginal Elder
Mr. K. Cameron, Aboriginal Elder
Professor B. Barish (Director, LIGO, USA)
Professor A. Giazotto (Director, VIRGO Project, INFN, Italy)
Professor R. Ruffini (Director, ICRA)
Dr. D. McClelland (ACIGA Chairman and ANU projects)
Professor J. de Laeter,  Chairman Gravity Discovery Centre Steering Committee
Professor D.G. Blair

Unfortunately, Dr. M. Washer, MP and Professor J. Munch, University of Adelaide, were unavailable to speak.

At the completion of speeches the plaque commemorating the opening was 'revealed' by the Premier who cut a ribbon to release a pendulum which, on the second swing, knocked over a weight.  The falling weight set off an explosion of streamers and, at the same time, a copy of the black hole art work sprung up to reveal the plaque.

The event has also been commemorated by an original piece of art work by Torres Strait Islander artist, Julie Weekes, which has also been used in the production of colourful t-shirts.  T-shirts can be ordered from Debbie Greenwood at a cost of $25 plus postage.

The speeches and revealing of the plaque was followed by a tour of the laboratory, its equipment, facilities and displays.

Gate sign of AIGO (by Len Zuks)

Part of the audience at the Opening Ceremony.

The Hon. Richard Court, MLA, Premier of Western Australia, having just cut the ribbon to set the pendulum in motion.

Professor D. Schreuder, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia

Professor Barry Barish, Director, LIGO, USA 

Professor Adalberto Giazotto, Director, VIRGO, Istituto Nazionale de Fisica Nucleare, Italy (Italian/French collaboration)

Professor Remo Ruffini, International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics (ICRA) (part of UNESCO)

Dr. Richard Isaacson, Program Manager for LIGO, National Science Foundation, with Professor R. Ruffini

Mr. R. Bropho, Aboriginal Elder, Swan Valley Nyungah Community

Mr. K. Cameron, Aboriginal Elder, Swan Valley Nyungah Community

Professor D. Blair, Ms. J. Moylan MP and the Hon. R. Court, MLA, Premier of Western Australia

Professor David Blair displaying plans and artist's impression of the proposed Gravity Discovery Centre.

The pendulum is released by the Premier (on its first swing) which ultimately uncovered the plaque.

The vacuum pipes ready to be welded to form the two vacuum pipe 'arms' to the end stations.

In the background is part of the impressive display of ancient Aboriginal artifacts prepared and displayed by Mr. K. Cameron, Aboriginal Elder, Swan Valley Nyungah Community.

The vibration isolation equipment and vacuum tanks ready for installation.

'Matter tells space how to curve.
Space tells matter how to move.'

Part of the cornerstation laboratory prior to the ceremony.


Contact details:
A.I.G.R.C., Department of Physics, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, W.A. 6907, Australia. Tel: +61.8.9380.2736 Fax: +61.8.9380.1170 e-mail: