Americans win Nobel Prize in physics for work on gravitational forces

  • Americans win Nobel Prize in physics for work on gravitational forces

Americans win Nobel Prize in physics for work on gravitational forces

They used their results to detect gravitational waves that indicated two black holes were colliding a billion light years away.

"With this discovery we can study processes which were completely impossible, out of reach to us in the past", said Ariel Goobar of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

"On 14 September 2015, the universe's gravitational waves were observed for the very first time", the Nobel committee wrote in a press release. They told the world past year that they had spotted gravitational waves travelling through the universe, which were caused by two massive black holes circling around each other before eventually colliding.

"Their discovery shook the world", said Goran K Hansson, the head of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences which selects the Nobel recipients. However, the scientists didn't make announcement until 11 Feb, 2016 after refining the calculations.

And since then, they have clinched all the major astrophysics prizes to be had.

LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is a collaborative project with over 1,000 researchers from more than 20 countries. And Barish and Weiss stood at the origins of the LIGO project.

Unlike other types of waves that go through the universe such as electromagnetic waves, gravitational waves go through matter - stars, planets, us - untouched.

With more confirmed gravitational waves detections, scientists now have another new tool to detect celestial events. Although Albert Einstein never imagined it possible to measure gravitational waves, the LIGO project was able to achieve this by using a pair of enormous laser interferometers to measure a change as the gravitational wave passed the Earth. Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves a century ago. "They laid down the theoretical foundations of gravitational-wave sources and paved the way in the design of the instruments to detect these sources".

"We now witness the dawn of a new field: gravitational wave astronomy", Nils Martensson, acting chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, told reporters. Because gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins that can not otherwise be obtained, their detection opened an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

There were 39 authors from the same nine Indian institutions in the publication for the detection of the second black hole merger event.

The concept is somewhat awe-inspiring.On a small scale, every movement we've ever made has wiggled the physical Jell-o of spacetime that defines everything around us, propelling waves that stretch and squeeze space itself.

Observing gravitational waves is important because they offer a new way to observe the universe, beyond light and particles, Will said. Here's what their discovery means and why they won the prize worth $1.1 million (9 million kronor).

Three American scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, including one who fled the Nazis with his parents and another whose grandparents were Polish immigrants. Many believe that had he lived, Drever would have also been awarded the prize.