Wednesday, 11 January 2017 back

Gruber Cosmology Prize awarded to LIGO and VIRGO

Gruber Cosmology Prize awarded to LIGO and VIRGO Courtesy Caltech/MIT/LIGO Laboratory

The Gruber Foundation awarded the 2016 Gruber Prize in Cosmology to Ronald Drever, Kip Thorne, and Rainer Weiss, along with the entire Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) discovery team and the Virgo Collaboration for the first detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein a century ago.

The citation praises the recipients for “pursuing a vision to observe the universe in gravitational waves, leading to a first detection.”  That detection, which took place in 2015, provided long-sought support for a key prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, itself a technologically herculean and scientifically transcendent achievement. But the detection also represents a new means of studying the universe, “the first glimpse into the strong-gravity regime of Einstein’s theory of general relativity,” the part of the theory that governs the dynamics of the most gravitationally powerful phenomena in the universe.

Drever, Thorne, and Weiss will divide the $500,000 award equally, and each will also receive a gold medal.

The Gruber Foundation is a philanthropic foundation based at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.