NSF-funded LIGO pioneers named 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics laureates

  • NSF-funded LIGO pioneers named 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics laureates

NSF-funded LIGO pioneers named 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics laureates

From Star Trek to Family Guy, storylines based on ripples in the spacetime continuum theorized by Albert Einstein abound.

"While most Nobel prizes are awarded for a discovery that happened in the past, this one recognizes the dawn of a new era in physics that will continue for generations of discoveries, says former NCSA Director Ed Seidel, who is also Founder Professor of Physics and professor of astronomy at IL".

They are caused by ultra-violent processes, such as colliding black holes or the collapse of stellar cores. "These gravitational waves will be powerful ways for the human race to explore the universe", said Thorne, speaking by phone with The Associated Press from California. "We're measuring the distance between pairs of mirrors by bouncing the laser beams back and forth".

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. Thanks to LIGO, we're now able to "hear" the universe in a completely unique way. "It was nearly too good to be true".

Gravitational observatories were first conceived 50 years ago.

Astronomers hope to answer questions about basic physics, nuclear physics, and continuous phenomena using gravitational waves propagating from collisions of massive objects such as black holes to the subtle ripples of steady motion in the universe. Their employment of advanced theory and the fabrication of the unique LIGO instrument won them the prestigious award, according to officials at The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. The event occurred 1.3 billion light-years away.

If ultralight scalar particles exist in nature, fast- spinning black holes would trigger the growth of such scalar "condensates" at the expense of their rotational energy.

The press release said the gravitational waves were observed for the very first time on September 14, 2015.

The detection of gravitational waves has changed astrophysics forever, not just because it confirms Einstein's general theory of relativity, but also because it illustrates our ability to observe the universe in a way that we've never done before. The result was an even bigger black hole. He, Thorne and Barish "ensured that four decades of effort led to gravitational waves finally being observed", the Nobel announcement said. "People criticizing each other inside the team".

The spectacular fireworks of colliding neutron stars, for example, can now be observed in electromagnetic wavelengths, so scientists know a bit about what they are made of, says Professor Teukolsky. Barish says they even anxious about sabotage.

The engineering work done by the LIGO team can have an impact on other fields of science and technology too, Shawhan says.