OzGrav congratulates the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics for their roles in discovering gravitational waves
The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) is delighted to congratulate the winners of this year’s Nobel prize in Physics for the leadership roles they played in the discovery of gravitational waves by the Advanced LIGO detector.
The three winners are Rainer Weiss, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, both of whom are from the California Institute of Technology. OzGrav is very fortunate to have Barry Barish serve on our Scientific Advisory Committee.
Australia’s Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, also congratulated the 2017 Nobel Prize winners. “OzGrav is helping Australia stay at the cutting edge of this new and rapidly advancing field,” said Senator Birmingham. “It will capitalise on the first detections of gravitational waves, to understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped space-time.”
The discovery of gravitational waves was one of the greatest intellectual achievements in physics. The collaboration that this year’s Nobel Laureates helped put together has opened a new window on the Universe and verified that Einstein’s 1915 masterpiece, the General Theory of Relativity, is an accurate description of gravity and the motions of the stars and planets.
Our OzGrav members explain why it's such a big deal in this article in The Conversation.
Just last week the LIGO Scientific collaboration announced the discovery of a fourth burst of gravitational waves from black holes with their Virgo partners, and OzGrav is proud to be part of this international team as it continues to refine and enhance the Advanced LIGO detectors, extending our knowledge of the Universe.
OzGrav Director, Professor Matthew Bailes (Swinburne University of Technology) paid testament to the perseverance of the LIGO leadership. “When I first heard talk of the LIGO detector during a visit to Caltech it seemed fanciful”, he said. “The technology required seemed too ambitious, and the targets very uncertain. But today’s prize is a fitting reward to the visionaries who persisted over decades with the scientific, technological, sociological and political challenges of building one of the great observatories of the world. It has taken the pulse of the Universe and opened a treasure trove for fundamental physics research”.
OzGrav scientists and engineers are part of the 1000-member LIGO Scientific Collaboration that helped discover gravitational waves. Many of OzGrav’s Chief Investigators have dedicated almost their entire scientific careers to the development of the technology and methods to advance the field and will be delighted by today’s announcement.
Professor Matthew Bailes
Director, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav)
Swinburne University of Technology
Ph: 0414 324 677