Apl. Prof. Dr. Benno Willke received his doctoral degree from the University of Hannover, Germany in the field of plasma physics. As part of the GEO collaboration, he worked on the design and installation of the GEO600 gravitational wave detector. After receiving the Feodor Lynen scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, he spent a post-doctoral year in the Ginzton Laboratory at Stanford University doing research for the laser system of the LIGO gravitational wave detector.
Back in Germany, he continued to work on GEO600, focusing on the laser system and interferometry. He chaired the lasers working group of the LIGO scientific collaboration and was responsible for the development, fabrication, and installation of the Advanced LIGOÂ laser subsystem and its stabilization.