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.