Galactic discovery in Southeast Louisiana leads to Nobel Prizes

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For their contribution to the first detection of gravitational waves, Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2017.

Kip Thorne and Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology and Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology split the $1 million prize, awarded for their work in designing and developing the detectors that proved the waves exist. These three physicists have played a major role in the "Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory" experiment, which first observed the gravitational waves in the year 2015.

The waves, which are ripples in the fabric of spacetime first predicted by Albert Einstein, occur following the collision of two black holes.

The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. His ideas were then translated, through a series of researchers, including Kip Thorne, Ronald Drever, and Barry Barish, into what would become LIGO.

"The 2017 Nobel Laureates have, with their enthusiasm and determination, each been invaluable to the success of LIGO". Over the next decade, Barish "transformed LIGO from a limited MIT/Caltech endeavour to a major global, gravitational-wave project", Nobel Prize committee wrote.

"The discovery of the existence of gravitational waves, just over two years ago, has opened up a whole new way to understand the universe", she said.

They are receiving the prize for the discovery of the gravitational waves released by violent events in the universe such as the mergers of black holes.

It took 1.3 billion years for the waves to arrive at the Ligo detector.

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"This year's prize is about a discovery that shook the world", the Nobel committee's Göran Hansson said in making the announcement.

Even though the cataclysmic events which cause gravitational waves are incredibly powerful, the signals are nearly imperceptible by the time they reach earth, requiring extremely sensitive instruments to detect them.

Observing gravitational waves is important because they offer a new way to observe the universe, beyond light and particles, Will said.

LIGO India is a joint scientific collaboration between LIGO laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the USA, and three leading Indian institutions, namely, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar, and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.

Here is a list of the 10 most recent Nobel Physics Prize winners, after the 2017 prize was awarded on Tuesday to three USA astrophysicists for the discovery of gravitational waves.

All three are now part of an exclusive club containing 204 previous winners of the Physics Nobel Prize.

Because gravitational waves are radically different from electromagnetic waves such as radio waves, visible light, infrared light and X-rays, they are expected to reveal previously inaccessible features. Thorne realized that pairs of spiraling neutron stars or black holes would be more powerful sources and encouraged experimenters to tailor LIGO to spot them, Teukolsky says. These ripples are known as gravitational waves.

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