Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne were awarded the NOBEL Prize for Physics in 2017. The NOBEL recognized that the three contributed confirmed findings for the “decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.
On September 14th, 2015, gravitational waves were observed for the first time. One hundred years prior, the famed scientist Albert Einstein predicted such natural phenomenon.
Nearly 1.3 Billion years ago, two huge black holes merged. This is where the observation started and how finally gravitational waves were able to be observed and quantified, then confirmed.
This video describes what gravitational waves are, for us laymen:
Here is Dr. Michio Kaku, another popular scientist and presenter, describing what had been confirmed by the LIGO project:
Here’s how gravitation waves would look like if it had colors:
Here’s how two black holes merging would look like:
From the NOBEL PRESS RELEASE:
“LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is a collaborative project with over one thousand researchers from more than twenty countries. Together, they have realized a vision that is almost fifty years old. The 2017 Nobel Laureates have, with their enthusiasm and determination, each been invaluable to the success of LIGO. Pioneers Rainer Weiss and Kip S. Thorne, together with Barry C. Barish, the scientist and leader who brought the project to completion, ensured that four decades of effort led to gravitational waves finally being observed.”
“Gravitational waves spread at the speed of light, filling the universe, as Albert Einstein described in his general theory of relativity. They are always created when a mass accelerates, like when an ice-skater pirouettes or a pair of black holes rotate around each other. Einstein was convinced it would never be possible to measure them. The LIGO project’s achievement was using a pair of gigantic laser interferometers to measure a change thousands of times smaller than an atomic nucleus, as the gravitational wave passed the Earth.”
Here are a short bio of each winning Physicist:
Rainer Weiss, born 1932 in Berlin, Germany. Ph.D. 1962 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA. Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Barry C. Barish, born 1936 in Omaha, NE, USA. Ph.D. 1962 from University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Linde Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Kip S. Thorne, born 1940 in Logan, UT, USA. Ph.D. 1965 from Princeton University, NJ, USA. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Other related videos: