Weiss, Barish and Thorne win Nobel Prize for Physics 2017

2017 Nobel Prize goes to scientists who detected ripples in the fabric of space and time

Nobel prize in physics winners: LIGO scientists win award for spotting gravitational waves flowing through the Earth

Three US scientists have won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of gravitational waves - a phenomenon first predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago.

The Nobel laurels are going to MIT's Rainer Weiss and Caltech's Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, who are recognized as ringleaders for the $500 million LIGO project. Hence why the initial gravitational waves spotted by LIGO came from two massive black holes - both 30 times bigger than our sun - crashing into each other near the speed of light. The next detections might come from the merger of two ultra-dense neutron stars, or a neutron star colliding with a black hole, he said.

LSU's pioneering role in this science began in 1970 with the arrival of William Hamilton, now professor emeritus, who along with Physics Professor Warren Johnson, built and operated previous-generation cryogenic bar gravitational wave detectors on campus for many years.

Announcing the winners in Stockholm on Tuesday, the Nobel committee described Ligo as the "most sensitive instrument ever devised by man".

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The LIGO project has involved thousands of researchers from more than twenty countries, but the Nobel panel deemed that the three physicists had made an outstanding contribution towards the first observation of the waves.

The three were among the architects and founders of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, along with the late Ron Drever, who unfortunately passed away this year.

Botner, co-announcing the award by the Swedish Academy of Sciences, explained that the waves originated 1.3 billion years ago, from the collision between two distant black holes. The work of Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne crowned half a century of experimental efforts by scientists and engineers. "This sounds cliched, but I really think we are in the midst of a revolution in the way we study and understand the universe!" A passing gravitational wave will generally stretch the two 4-kilometer-long arms by different amounts, and by comparing laser light bouncing back and forth in the arms, physicists can detect that slight differential stretching. "Gravitational waves contain information about their explosive origins and the nature of gravity that can not be obtained from other astronomical signals".

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Livingston observatory is located on LSU property and is just 25 miles from the university's main campus. Weiss and Thorne conceived of LIGO, and Barish is credited with reviving the struggling experiment and making it happen.

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A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Speaking over the phone at the award ceremony he said: "I view this more as a thing that recognises the work of about 1,000 people".

All three scientists are members of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration.

The discovery can pave the way for proving the general theory of relativity, so that we can look deeper and deeper into the universe.

David J. Thouless shared half of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.

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The Nobel Prize will be handed out on December 10 on the anniversary of the death of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who created the award in 1895.

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