The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics with one half to Rainer Weiss and the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne at LIGO / VIRGO COLLABORATION LIGO Scientific Collaboration “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was divided- one half awarded to Rainer Weiss and the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne.

  • ‎The prize was awarded for decisive contributions to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.



What are Gravitational waves?

  • Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity.
  • Gravitational waves are ripples in the space-time caused by most violent and energetic processes in the Universe.
  • The strongest gravitational waves are produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes.

Why are they detected?

  • Gravitational waves are detected and analysed to to learn about and understand objects and phenomena in the Universe. 
  • In recent years, subatomic particles called neutrinos have begun to be used to study aspects of the heavens.

What is LIGO?

  • LIGO is the world’s largest gravitational wave observatory. 
  • ‎It is comprised of two enormous laser interferometers located thousands of kilometers apart.
  • LIGO helps to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves.

What is an Interferometer?

  • Interferometers are investigative tools used in many fields of science and engineering. 
  • ‎They are called interferometers because they work by merging two or more sources of light to create an interference pattern, which can be measured and analyzed.

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