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The detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) opens up a method of observing the universe in a new way, perhaps comparable to the advance that Galileo made in 1609 by turning a telescope on the heavens.

Many awards have been given to Kip Thorne of Caltech, who worked out the theory decades ago, and the people who built LIGO over 40 years until its success in 2015.  The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Prof. Thorne as well as Barry Barish and Rainer Weiss, half to Weiss for beginning the actual method of the successful observations and one quarter each to the other two.

2017PhysicsNobel

Credit: Niklas Elmehed/The Nobel Prize Foundation

 

The October 3, 2017, award of the Nobel Prize was much anticipated and is well deserved.  See, for example, coverage in the following media:
Physics Today
NY Times
Nature
Science
The Atlantic provides a thoughtful reflection on the merits of the Nobel prize.

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