Weber bar

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A Weber bar is a device used in the detection of gravitational waves first devised and constructed by physicist Joseph Weber at the University of Maryland. The device consisted of multiple aluminium cylinders, 2 meters in length and 1 meter in diameter, antennae for detecting gravitational waves.[1]


Around 1968, Weber collected what he concluded to be "good evidence"[1] of the theorized phenomenon. However, his experiments were duplicated many times, always with a null result.

Such experiments conducted by Joseph Weber were very controversial, and his positive results with the apparatus, in particular his claim to have detected gravitational waves from SN1987A in 1987, were widely discredited. Criticisms of the study have focused on Weber's data analysis and his incomplete definitions of what strength vibration would signify a passing gravitational wave.

Weber's first "Gravitational Wave Antenna" was on display in the Smithsonian Institution as part of "Einstein: a Centenary Exhibit" from March 1979 to March 1980.[2] A second is on display at the LIGO Hanford Observatory.[3]

Eight large aluminum bars organized in an arch around a sign that says "Weber Memorial Garden" with a picture of Weber working on the detectors. The Garden can be found at the University of Maryland.
The Weber Memorial Garden at the University of Maryland.

Weber Memorial Garden was dedicated 2019 at the University of Maryland, where Weber was a faculty member. The garden contains eight of the cores of Weber's bar detectors.[4]


These massive aluminium cylinders vibrated at a resonance frequency of 1660 hertz and were designed to be set in motion by gravitational waves predicted by Weber. Because these waves were supposed to be so weak, the cylinders had to be massive and the piezoelectric sensors had to be very sensitive, capable of detecting a change in the cylinders' lengths by about 10−16 meters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Lindley, David. "A Fleeting Detection of Gravitational Waves". Retrieved 2006-05-06.
  2. ^ Einstein: A Centenary Exhibition. Edited by the National Museum of History and Technology. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979.
  3. ^ "Resonant Bar Detector Dedicated at Hanford". The LIGO web newsletter. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  4. ^ "Weber Garden Dedication Held March 12 - UMD Physics". Retrieved 2019-05-09.

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