LIGO team behind gravitational-wave discovery awarded Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize

Just two years after their discovery, gravitational waves have earned a Nobel prize for Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, the three leaders of the LIGO/VIRGO collaboration that found the waves on 14 September 2015.

They are Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of Caltech and Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Though Albert Einstein predicted their existence more than a century ago, gravitational waves remained theoretical until previous year when they were finally detected by researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

"This is something completely new and different, opening up unseen worlds". He said the Indians contributed especially in "extracting signal from noise, in detecting the gravitational waves".

The discovery's announcement a few months later caused a sensation among scientists and the public. The power of these gravitational waves from colliding the black holes - though for a short spam of time - was many times stronger than the collected light of all the stars in visible universe. With the most sophisticated detector, the scientists listened for 20 thousandths of a second as the two giant black holes, one 35 times the mass of the sun, the other slightly smaller, circled around each other. The trio were founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an organisation spread across 19 universities with over 1000 scientists.

Three scientists are the winners of this year's Nobel Prize for Physics, reports Bgnes.

Cornell physicists, who played a vital role in validating the detection of gravitational waves, comment on the news and are available for interviews. "Gravitational waves contain information about their explosive origins and the nature of gravity that can not be obtained from other astronomical signals".

Ariel Goobar of the Swedish academy said that this feat can be compared to Galileo's discovering the telescope which permitted us to observe that Jupiter had moons. Those spotted have come from very distant black holes - extraordinarily dense objects whose existence was also predicted by Einstein - that smashed together to form a single, larger black hole.

In 1916, the famed theoretical physicist Albert Einstein postulated certain events in the universe would produce gravitational waves.



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