Gravitational wave discovery wins Nobel Prize

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The University of Adelaide welcomes the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics for the world’s first detection of gravitational waves that had been predicted by Einstein 100 years ago.

University of Adelaide physics researchers are part of the global team which detected gravitational waves produced by the merger of two black holes, announced in February 2016. The finding marked the beginning of the new field of gravitational waves astronomy and is already offering new insights into the Universe and its evolution.

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Professor Rainer Weiss, Professor Barry Barish and Professor Kip Thorne, all from the US and key figures in the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitation-wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration which made the detection.

“We congratulate these worthy Nobel Prize winners for their contribution towards this tremendous discovery which has opened new windows into our Universe,” says University of Adelaide Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Brooks.

“The University of Adelaide is extremely proud of its researchers and their key role in this work.

“The discovery was a technological triumph and the culmination of decades of international research and development, including at the University of Adelaide, and involving more than 1000 scientists from more than 90 universities around the world.”

The University of Adelaide developed and installed ultra-high precision optical sensors used to correct the distortion of the laser beams within the LIGO detectors, enabling the high sensitivity needed to detect these minute signals.

The current Adelaide team includes Professor Peter Veitch, Professor Emeritus Jesper Munch, Associate Professor David Ottaway, Dr Won Kim, Dr Seb Ng, Dr Dan Brown and Dr Miftar Ganija, and postgraduate students Elli King, Huy Cao, Deeksha Beniwal and Alexei Ciobanu.

Since the first discovery, LIGO has reported gravitational waves from three more black hole mergers including, just recently, the first “triple detection” which included the first significant gravitational-wave signal recorded by the Virgo detector.


Contact Details

Professor Peter Veitch
Head of Physics
School of Physical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 (0)422 906 827

Associate Professor David Ottaway
School of Physical Sciences
Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5165
Mobile: +61 0430 325 099

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084