2017 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to 3 Americans for their work in Detecting “Gravitational Waves”

Nobel Prize, Gravitational Waves

Scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne were honored for their “decisive contribution to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.”

US scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for their “decisive contribution to the LIGO detector and observation of gravitational waves,” the Royal Swedish Academy of science.

The three award winners, explains the ruling, have contributed “with their enthusiasm and determination” in an “invaluable” way to launch the Observatory of Gravitational Wave by Laser Interferometry (LIGO), the initiative that first detected those waves.

After “four decades of effort,” this project involving about 1,000 scientists from twenty countries, was the first to detect, on 14 September 2015, this cosmic phenomenon that Albert Einstein had predicted a century earlier in his General Theory of Relativity.

That vibration, which came to Earth in “extremely weak” form, came from the collision of two black holes, happened 1.3 billion years ago, explains the jury.

Its measurement “is already a promising revolution in astrophysics,” argues the press release of the academy.

Weiss will receive half the prize money from this Nobel and his two colleagues will share the rest.

The three physicists were recognized this year, along with the LIGO project, with the Princesa de Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research.

Weiss, Thorne, and Barsih work in the LIGO and VIRGO Scientific Collaboration, linking the LIGO detectors located in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington, and the Franco-Italian VIRGO detector located near Pisa,

Rainer Weiss, who was born in Berlin in 1932, practices at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); while Barry Barish, born in Omaha (United States) in 1936, works at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with his colleague Kip S. Thorpe, born in Logan (United States) in 1949.

Last year, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Britain’s David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz with the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering unusual states of matter that paved the way for the development of innovative materials.

The prize pool is SEK 9 million ($ 1.1 million) after the Foundation raised the number of Nobel awards for the first time in five years this year.

Nobel laureate Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their research on the “biological clock” started yesterday with the award of the Medicine Prize to Americans.

Following today’s announcement, tomorrow will be known to the winner or winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, on Thursday, the Literature; on Friday, that of Peace; and Economy, the following Monday.

All the prizes are made known in Stockholm, with the exception of Peace, which fails and delivers in Oslo at the express wish of the Swedish prize magnate Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), since Norway was then part of the Kingdom of Sweden.

The prizes are awarded on 10 December, coinciding with the anniversary of Nobel’s death, in a double ceremony at the Konserthus in Stockholm and at the Oslo City Hall.

Featured Image Credit: NPR

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