Gov. Inslee celebrated grand opening of LIGO Exploration Center of Hanford in Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. — The new LIGO Exploration Center (LExC) of Hanford opened to the public today, June 2nd. Gov. Jay Inslee, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Nobel Prize winner, physicist Rainer Weiss celebrated the ribbon-cutting.

The LExC will inspire the next generation of scientists, said Gov. Inslee.

“I’ve already seen where I’m going to spend countless hours with my grandchildren,” said Gov. Inslee, “Exploring wave theory with these hands-on experiments.”

The LExC is an investment in STEM education in the Mid-Columbia region for everyone, especially children, said Gov. Inslee.

“[The LExC is] going to create a group of people that will solve climate change,” said Gov. Inslee.

LIGO Hanford Observatory Operations discovered the sounds of gravitational waves and two black holes colliding.

The NSF funded LIGO for more than 30 years. We’re excited to see what LIGO discovers next, said the assistant director for the directorate of mathematical and physical sciences, Sean Jones.

A LExC founder and Noble Prize winner, Rainer Weiss, said people of any age can always find a passion for learning.

“There’s a poetic part of science, which we don’t emphasize,” said Weiss, “It’s a part of a thing that makes your life, the average person’s life, more interesting.”

Gov. Inslee even named Weiss the honorary Washingtonian of the day.

The LExC is open to the public. LExC leaders said they look forward to welcoming students next school year.

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