Nobel Prize Awarded for Sensational Gravitational Waves Discovery

Oct 3, 2017

By Megan Gannon

BERLIN—As expected by many, the 2017 Nobel Prize for physics went to three scientists who helped detect gravitational waves, ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein.

“This year’s prize is about a discovery that shook the world,” said physicist Thors Hans Hansson, announcing the winners from Stockholm.

Half of the 9 million Swedish krona ($1.1 million) award will go to Rainer Weiss of MIT. The other half will go jointly to Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of Caltech. All three were founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, which detected gravitational waves for the first time in 2015.

Albert Einstein had theorized that space-time can be stretched and compressed by collisions of massive objects in the universe. However, experimental proof for such events eluded scientists for 100 years. 

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