Nobel for trio who found Einstein's gravitational waves

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Rainer Weiss is professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology while Kip Thorne and Barry Barish both work at the California Institute of Technology.

The Nobel Physics Prize 2017 has been awarded to three scientists, including two from Caltech in Southern California, for their discoveries in gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, and since 2015, has been detected on four other occasions, most recently in August.

The world's first captured gravitational waves were created in a violent collision between two black holes, 1.3 billion lightyears away. The project took more than 40 years.

LIGO used a pair of laser interferometers to measure a change thousands of times smaller than an atomic nucleus as the wave passed through the Earth.

Announcing the winners in Stockholm on Tuesday, the Nobel committee described Ligo as the "most sensitive instrument ever devised by man".

Indeed, who gets the Nobel Physics award is usually anybody's guess, but this year, all the rumors leaned heavily towards gravitational waves.

The worldwide LIGO Science Collaboration (LSC) consisting of about 1,000 scientists from universities and research institutes from about 15 countries, including from India, announced the first detection on February 5, 2016 and second one on June 15, 2016.

"This is something completely new and different, opening up unseen worlds", the academy said in a statement when announcing the winners. "I want to congratulate LSU's Adjunct Professor Rainer Weiss, as well as California Institute of Technology professor emeriti Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, on this incredible honor".

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"We live in an epoch where rational reasoning associated with evidence isn't universally accepted and is in fact in jeopardy".

Japan has built a similar gravitational wave detector called Kagra in Gifu Prefecture.

Rainer Weiss, born 1932 in Berlin, Germany. Ph.D. "We now witness the dawn of a new field: gravitational wave astronomy", Nils Martensson, acting chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, told reporters.

Einstein's general relativity says that gravity is caused by heavy objects bending space-time.

The CSU group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration is led by University Distinguished Professor Carmen Menoni, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

If Weiss and Thorne conceived of LIGO, Barish made it a reality. But they could feel the same gravitational waves at the same time, given those vibrations are much bigger; and thus, instantly confirm a reading.

Who will win a Nobel physics prize is often anyone's guess; the selection process is notoriously secretive.

"(They are) people who have been thinking about this, sometimes failing and slowly getting the technology together to do this - it's exciting that they're finally doing this", Weiss said, speaking at the conference by phone.

Last year's prize went to three British physicists for their work on exotic states of matter that may pave the way for quantum computers and other revolutionary technologies.