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Gravitational wave detection wins physics Nobel

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Gravitational wave detection wins physics Nobel

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:06 pm

Story :

Three physicists who had leading roles in the first direct detection of gravitational waves have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Rainer Weiss, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, both at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, share the 9 million Swedish krona (US$1.1-million) award for their work at the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). In September 2015, LIGO picked up the deformations in space-time caused by the collision of two distant black holes.

That discovery, which was announced in February 2016, opened up a new field of astronomy, in which scientists listen to the space-time vibrations emitted by some of the Universe’s most cataclysmic events. And it confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, which Albert Einstein had predicted a century before.

Weiss and Thorne are two of three physicists known as the Troika — the founders of LIGO’s giant twin detectors in Livingston, Louisiana, and in Hanford, Washington. The third troika member, Ronald Drever, died on 7 March this year. And Barish, who was LIGO director from 1997 to 2005, is widely credited with having transformed the collaboration from a chaotic endeavour to a well-oiled machine.

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