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Nobel prize in physics awarded for discovery of gravitational waves
04 October 2017, 12:23 | Bernard Bryant
Many expected the discovery of the waves to be recognised in last year's Nobel Physics prize, however, it went instead to three British physicists for their work on odd states of matter that could lead to the development of super powerful quantum computers, among other ground-breaking technologies. 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.
Weiss said the award of the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize was really a recognition of around 1,000 people working on wave detection.
"The two observatories in Louisiana and Washington state had to be built in remote, seismically stable locations".
The team said in June that it again detected gravitational waves from two colliding black holes on December 26, 2015.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize for the detection of gravitational waves represents an important endorsement of the sophisticated LIGO research initiatives led by the Nobel Laureates, and the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy.
The first of the 2017 prizes was announced Monday with the medicine prize being given to three Americans studying human body clocks.
"LIGO's discoveries have opened an unparalleled window into our universe and expanded the boundaries of science". And Barish and Weiss stood at the origins of the LIGO project.
"I am fine, I even have clothing on", Weiss said, speaking over the phone Tuesday to reporters at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, minutes after learning of his Nobel win. $1,106,500) will be shared by the Nobel laureates.
That black hole crash was relatively small and extremely far away - so imagine what scientists might start "seeing" in the universe with these kinds of tools?
Wiess' device was inspired by an invention in the late 1800s by physicist (and fellow Nobel Prize winner) Albert Michelson. Gravitational wave astronomy is a way of mapping out some of the most violent processes in the universe such as black hole or neutron star mergers that can not be detected with light or the conventional methods.
Observing gravitational waves is important because they offer a new way to observe the universe, beyond light and particles, Will said. Over a century ago, Albert Einsteinpredicted the existence of these waves in his theory of general relativity.
Thorne and Weiss were convinced that these waves could be detected on Earth and pushed hard for a project that would become known as LIGO.
While only three men are receiving the award today, Cadonati says many within LIGO feel as though they are being awarded with the prize as well.
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