2017 Physics Nobel Prize Resources

AIP congratulates Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne on their receipt of the Nobel Prize in physics "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves."

Key publication from the American Physical Society (APS):

Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger
B. P. Abbott et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration)
Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 – Published 11 February 2016

More resources from AIP Member Societies: https://www.aip.org/science-news/nobel/physics2017/articles/member-societies


Quote from AIP Leadership

Statement from Catherine O’Riordan, AIP’s interim co-CEO

"We at AIP are thrilled to congratulate Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne today for winning this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for their contributions to LIGO and the observation of gravitational waves. Weiss, Barish and Thorne led us to the first-ever detection of gravitational waves and laid the foundation for the new and exciting era we officially entered on Sept. 14, 2015 -- the era of gravity wave astronomy."


Overview from Inside Science

Gravitational waves are ripples through space-time sent out by gravitational interactions between objects. On Sept. 14, 2015, scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time. The signal originating from a pair of merging black holes was detected by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which has detectors in the state of Louisiana and Washington. The signal was eventually confirmed and the official announcement was made Feb. 11, 2016. Read more.


2017 Physics Nobel Prize AIP Publishing Journal Articles →

2017 Physics Nobel Prize AIP Member Society Resources →


From Physics Today -- Free access until 12/31/17

Weiss, Barish, and Thorne share 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics2017, by Andrew Grant

LIGO and the Detection of Gravitational Waves1999, by Barry C. Barish and Rainer Weiss

LIGO detects gravitational waves2016, by Sung Chang



Rainer Weiss was born in 1932 in Berlin, Germany, and moved to New York City in 1938, escaping Nazi rule. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently a professor emeritus. Prior to his position at MIT, he was an assistant professor of physics at Tufts University and completed his postdoctoral studies at Princeton University. Weiss has made vast contributions to the field of physics as the co-found and leader of both the COBE (microwave background) and LIGO (gravitational wave detection) projects.



Barry Barish was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1936 and earned both his bachelor’s degree and his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1963 he started postdoctoral work at Caltech where he is currently Linde Professor of Physics, Emeritis. In 1997, while director of LIGO, Barish created the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) enabling worldwide participation in LIGO efforts. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as well as the American Physical Society (APS) and in 2011, Barish was elected and served as President of APS.



Kip Thorne was born in 1940 in Logan, Utah, and currently serves as Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus at Caltech while he focuses on scientific writing and research. Thorne earned his bachelor’s degree from Caltech before earning his doctorate just three years later from Princeton University in 1965. In addition to co-founding the LIGO project, he made numerous key findings in cosmology and astrophysics and mentored over 50 doctoral students. In addition to winning the Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society in 1996 and The Albert Einstein Medal from the Albert Einstein Society in Berne, Switzerland, in 2009, his work bringing physics to the public earned him the American Institute of Physics Writing Award twice, in 1969 and in 1994.



From the AIP Physics History Network

Rainer Weiss

Barry C. Barish

Kip S. Thorne