National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 Awarded Gravitational Waves Detection

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Artist’s impression of gravitational wave emission from merging black holes.

On Oct. 3, the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics was announced. The Nobel Prize committee awarded the prize to Prof. Rainer Weiss, Prof. Barry C. Barish and Prof. Kip S. Thorne of LIGO-Virgo collaboration, in recognition of the direct detection of the gravitational waves from merging stellar objects. It is very exceptional to award the Nobel Prize in such a short period of time after the achievement.

NAOJ is promoting the gravitational wave research project, which NAOJ takes part in the KAGRA gravitational wave telescope.

Prof. Flaminio, director of NAOJ Gravitational Wave Project Office and member of the Virgo team at the French CNRS/LAPP made the following comments:
Apart from the recognition of the fundamental contributions given by three award winners, this prize recognizes the efforts made by three generation of scientists around the world to achieve this result. Indeed, it is rare that a Nobel Prize is awarded so early after the discovery. By making this choice the Nobel Prize committee also recognizes the large impact that this discovery is already having on astronomy and fundamental physics.