3 Americans Win Nobel Prize in Physics for Discovering Gravitational Waves

Three American physicists on Tuesday won the Nobel Prize in physics, for their discovery of gravitational waves. Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish will be celebrated for their roles in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory experiment (LIGO), which first observed gravitational waves in September 2015. Such waves—described as “ripples in the fabric of spacetime”—were first predicted by Albert Einstein last century. As The Guardian explained, “The phenomenon detected was the collision of two black holes. Using the world’s most sophisticated detector, the scientists listened for 20 thousandths of a second as the two giant black holes, one 35 times the mass of the sun, the other slightly smaller, circled around each other.”