Scientists Win Nobel Physics Prize for Discovery of Gravitational Waves

Artist's illustration of two black holes merging

Professor of theoretical physics at Caltech Kip Thorne (R) and Emeritus professor of physics at MIT Rainer Weiss (L) listen to remarks on the discovery of gravitational waves during a press conference in Washington, D.C., last year.

Winners Rainer Weiss, Barry C Barish and Kip S Thorne, were three of the thousand-plus researchers who worked on the project.

Though Albert Einstein predicted their existence more than a century ago, gravitational waves remained theoretical until past year when they were finally detected by researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Barish said the prize announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Tuesday represented a victory for Einstein.

Researchers from UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee can take some credit in the Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to three researchers, for the discovery of gravitational waves originally predicted by Albert Einstein.

The LIGO first observed signs of gravitational waves on 14 September 2015.

They made their discovery in September 2015 and announced it in February previous year, a historic achievement that culminated from decades of scientific research.

Measuring gravitational waves offers a new way to observe the cosmos, helping scientists explore the nature of mysterious objects, including black holes and neutron stars.

LSU said in a news release that its scientists have spent more than four decades on gravitational-wave research, one of the longest-running such programs among institutions contributing to the discovery.

The work to detect the gravitational waves was done by the LIGO Science Collaboration, or LSC, a team of more than 1,000 scientists from universities in the USA and overseas.

"The 2017 Nobel Laureates have, with their enthusiasm and determination, each been invaluable to the success of Ligo", the academy said. The beams are used to detect infinitesimal changes in the distance between mirrors at the ends of the arms that are caused when gravitational waves pass by the detectors. "Scientists stressed the Nobel prize would give impetus to LIGO India project".