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Peter R. Saulson

Peter R. Saulson

Peter R. Saulson

Professor Emeritus


263-4 Physics Building


Biophysical Science
Energy and Its Impacts [ILM]
Environment, Sustainability, and Policy [ILM]

Research Interests
  • Gravitational wave detection strategies.
  • Heuristics of gravitational wave detectors.
  • Thermal noise in mechanical experiments.
  • Internal friction in materials.

Research Spotlight


The Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group is working to detect gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group web-site.

News Articles
Physicist Awarded NSF Grant for Gravitational Wave Research

(June 12, 2020)

Using observations of neutron star collisions, Professor Duncan Brown will study the nature of matter.

Physicists Usher in 'Golden' Age of Astronomy

(Oct. 16, 2017)

Professors Saulson, Brown, Ballmer trace origins of gold and heavy metals to neutron star collisions

Physicists Relish Role in Nobel Prize-Winning Research

(Oct. 2, 2017)

Peter Saulson, Duncan Brown, and Stefan Ballmer played a lead role in the analysis of Gravitational wave signals as part of the multinational Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

Syracuse Alumnus Instrumental in LIGO's Third Detection of Gravitational Waves

(June 1, 2017)

Alex Nitz G'15 helped detect gravitational-wave signal with software he began developing at Syracuse

Physicist to be Recognized by National Academy of Sciences

(Jan. 26, 2017)

Professor Peter Saulson will receive NAS Award for role in LIGO's detection of gravitational waves

Physicist Awarded Grant to Assess Authenticity of Gravitational-Wave Signals

(July 21, 2016)

Professor Peter Saulson using NSF grant to help LIGO distinguish between astronomical events, instrumental artifacts

Syracuse University Helps Make History—Again

(June 15, 2016)

LIGO detects second pair of colliding black holes

Syracuse Physicists Among Recipients of Breakthrough, Gruber Prizes for Detection of Gravitational Waves

(May 25, 2016)

Gravitational Wave Group honored for contributions to physics, astronomy

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction

(Feb. 11, 2016)

LIGO Opens New Window on the Universe with Observation of Gravitational Waves from Colliding Black Holes

LIGO: At a Glance

(Feb. 11, 2016)

Everything you need to know about the "Theory of Everything"

Syracuse University Makes History

(Feb. 11, 2016)

Finding coincides with 100th anniversary of Einstein's Theory of Relativity (VIDEO)

Syracuse Advances Search for Gravitational Waves

(Sept. 17, 2015)

Physicists participate in first run of new Advanced LIGO Detector, after five-year rebuild

University Integral to Advanced LIGO Success

(May 27, 2015)

Physics department has been leading the search for gravitational waves for more than 25 years


1981 Ph.D. in Physics Princeton University

1978 A.M. in Physics Princeton University

1976 A.B. magna cum laude in Physics Harvard University

Awards & Professional Honors
  • Martin A. Pomerantz ’37 Professor of Physics
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (elected 2003)
  • Scholar-Teacher of the Year for 2003
  • Physics Department Undergraduate Teaching Award 2002
Selected Publications

A. Ageev, Belkis Cabrera Palmer, Antonio De Felice, Steven D. Penn, and Peter R. Saulson, “Very high quality factor measured in annealed fused silica”, Classical and Quantum Gravity 21, 3887 (2004).

Peter R. Saulson, “If light waves are stretched by gravitational waves, how can we use light as a ruler to detect gravitational waves?”, American Journal of Physics, 65, 501 (1997).

Gabriela Gonzalez and Peter R. Saulson, “Brownian motion of a torsional pendulum with internal friction”, Physics Letters A 201, 12 (1995).

Peter R. Saulson, Fundamentals of Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detectors (Singapore: World Scientific) 300 pp. (1994).

Peter R. Saulson, “Thermal noise in mechanical experiments”, Physical Review D 42, 2437 (1990).