COPENHAGEN – US scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Tuesday.
“Pioneers Rainer Weiss and Kip S. Thorne, together with Barry C. Barish, the scientist and leader who brought the project to completion, ensured that four decades of effort led to gravitational waves finally being observed,” the statement said.
The academy pointed out that three scientists have been awarded the prize “for decisive contributions” to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.
This project, which involved some 1,000 scientists from 20 countries, was the first to detect this cosmic phenomenon that Albert Einstein predicted a century ago in his General Theory of Relativity.
The three physicists were also given the Princess of Asturias Awards for scientific and technical research this year.
The Noble prize includes a monetary award of 943,784 euros ($1.1 million) after the foundation increased the amount this year for the first time in five years.
The academy explained in a statement that one half of the money prize would go to Weiss and the other half would be shared between Barish and Thorne.
The Noble prizes are annually awarded on Dec. 10 to mark the anniversary of Nobel’s death.