​Noble Prize in Physics

• The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 was divided- one half awarded to Rainer Weiss and the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne.

• The prize was awarded for decisive contributions to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.

What are Gravitational waves?

• Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity.

• Gravitational waves are ripples in the space-time caused by most violent and energetic processes in the Universe.

• The strongest gravitational waves are produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes.

Why are they detected?

• Gravitational waves are detected and analysed to to learn about and understand objects and phenomena in the Universe.

• In recent years, subatomic particles called neutrinos have begun to be used to study aspects of the heavens.

What is LIGO?

• LIGO is the world’s largest gravitational wave observatory.

• It is comprised of two enormous laser interferometers located thousands of kilometers apart.

• LIGO helps to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves.

What is an Interferometer?

• Interferometers are investigative tools used in many fields of science and engineering.

• They are called interferometers because they work by merging two or more sources of light to create an interference pattern, which can be measured and analyzed.