The Nobel Prize for Physics was Awarded to Gravitational Waves Observers

Posted October 04, 2017

LIGO was originally proposed in the 1980s as a means for detecting gravitational waves.

After being passed up for the honor previous year, three scientists who made essential contributions to the LIGO collaboration have been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Three scientists have won the Nobel prize after spotting huge gravitational waves flowing through the universe.

The German-born Mr Weiss was awarded half of the nine-million-kronor (£834,000) prize amount and Mr Thorne and Mr Barish will split the other half. Barish and Thorne will share the other half. After about 50 years of experimentation the waves were detected for the first time in September 2015.

Olga Botner, member of the Nobel Physics Committee at the press conference explained that, "We know the gravitational waves existed, but it's the first time to find them". But that does not curb speculation.

Two huge L-shaped detectors in the U.S. that together comprise Ligo measured the infinitesimally small echo of the black holes crashing together and merging 1.3 billion light years away. The Virgo detector joined the LIGO detectors on August 1 this year. The facilities were designed, built and are operated by the many dedicated staff at Caltech and MIT as well as at the LIGO stations in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana. These are tubes in which laser beams pass through an nearly ideal vacuum.

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"Hunting stands are nearby in the woods, but they point away from the beam lines. And that I had put my own energies in the right directions to help make it happen". Thorne did the theory. He was a part of the famous Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar.

Prof Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal & Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge, said: "The Nobel committee has apportioned credit appropriately among three leaders of the LIGO project - outstanding individuals whose contributions were distinctive and complementary". The National Science Foundation named this new technique, called multi-messenger astronomy, one of the top six ideas to pursue in the future. President Trump proposed a budget cut of 11 percent to the NSF, but Congress has been more supportive of the agency.

On Wednesday, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry will be awarded while Thursday and Friday will see the announcement for the Prizes for Literature and the Nobel Peace Prize. Larson and Shahriar also have been mentored over the years by Weiss or Thorne. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Max Planck are among some of the most popular Physics Laureates. More recent laureates include University of Manchester scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who won the 2010 prize. The distortion would only be as wide as a fraction of the width of a single atom.

■ 2013: Peter Higgs (Britain) and Francois Englert (Belgium) for their work on the so-called Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that gives mass to other particles. "I think this will become one of the most popular Nobel Prize awards".

The prize is "a win for Einstein, and a very big one", Mr Barish said.