The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected three American scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne for the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.
They were selected for their decisive contributions to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.
Dr. Weiss — born in Berlin and now a US citizen received half the prize. The remaining half was shared equally by two Caltech scientists — Dr. Barish, Professor of Physics and Dr. Thorne, Professor of Theoretical Physics
Gravitational waves are ripples curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from source at the speed of light. Strongest sources of gravitational waves are among produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes.
Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on basis of his Theory of General Relativity. They were detected for by US LIGO laboratory in 2015. Since then three more examples have been detected.
Gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass through matter without interacting with it. Information extracted from gravitational waves may help to address unsolved questions and mysteries of physics and astronomy.
LIGO is world’s largest gravitational wave observatory. It comprises two enormous laser interferometers located thousands of kilometers apart. It helps to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves. The Interferometers used in LIGO work by merging two or more sources of light to create interference pattern, which can be measured and analyzed.