Nobel physics prize awarded to 3 United States scientists

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Few will be surprised with the news that the key players behind the discovery of gravitational waves have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2017.

Weiss won half the prize, with Barish and Thorne sharing the other half.

While Einstein had predicted these waves a century ago he was convinced that we would never be able to detect them.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Science while announcing the winners stated that "this was a discovery which shook the world".

The three scientists cocreated the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) at the prestigious California Institute of Technology, which has taken home 18 Nobels since the prizes were first awarded in 1901. It is the first joint detection of gravitational waves with the Virgo and LIGO collaborations. Gravitational waves are a whole new way of observing some of the most stormy events in the universe and a sequential test of the boundaries of human knowledge.

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Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.   

  Caltech
Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech

These are known as gravitational waves.By the time these disturbances reach us, they are nearly imperceptible. He, Thorne and Barish "ensured that four decades of effort led to gravitational waves finally being observed", the Nobel announcement said.

LIGO's L-shaped detectors use laser light split into two beams that travel back and forth down 4-km-long arms.

The detection of gravitational waves is not possible visually, and the sound released by the waves is too faint to be detected.

The Nobel Prize will be handed out on December 10 on the anniversary of the death of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who created the award in 1895.

And both the university and the governor noted that Weiss is an adjunct professor at LSU as well as professor emeritus at MIT. "Gravitational waves contain information about their explosive origins and the nature of gravity that can not be obtained from other astronomical signals. In 1905 Henri Poincaréfirst proposed gravitational waves emanating from a body and propagating at the speed of light as being required by the Lorentz transformations". "But if I told him about the discovery of black holes, he would have been absolutely flabbergasted".

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