Scientists win Nobel Physics Prize for discovery of ripples in space detected by La. observatory

Team at LIGO watching a press conference with two of the Nobel Laureates (Source: WAFB)
Team at LIGO watching a press conference with two of the Nobel Laureates (Source: WAFB)
One of the long arms of detection instrument (Source: WAFB)
One of the long arms of detection instrument (Source: WAFB)

LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - The detection of gravitational waves in space, first made by an observatory in south Louisiana, has resulted in The Nobel Physics Prize 2017 being awarded to three scientists.

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Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne were announced Tuesday as the winners of the prestigious award. Weiss is an adjunct professor at LSU and professor emeritus at MIT. Barish and Thorne are professor emeriti at Cal Tech.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana detected the waves on Sept. 14, 2015. Officials added LIGO in Washington state also detected the waves on that same day.

The detection of ripples in space from the collision of two black holes was first predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago.

Based on their detections, LIGO scientists estimate the two black holes were 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun and the collision took place 1.3 billion years ago. According to scientists, the collision of the black holes form a single black hole, converting a portion of the hole's mass into energy.  That energy is emitted as a final burst of gravitational radiation.

LSU and Southern University graduates were the operators on duty in Livingston and Washington at the time of the wave detections.

LSU issued the following release Tuesday morning:

Today the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the pioneering leaders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, for the first detection of gravitational waves. The detection confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

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