Physics Department Holds 2017 Physics Nobel Prize Colloquium November 9

Three faculty from the physics department will talk about the astounding advancements in gravity wave detection that led to the recent Nobel Prize in physics on Thursday, November 9 from 3:30–5 p.m. in the Robert A. Pritzker Science Center, Room 111. All are welcome.

Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne received the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics for “decisive contributions to the LIGO [Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory] detector and the observation of gravitational waves” – helping us to observe the universe’s gravitational waves for the first time on September 14, 2015.  The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences wrote, “The waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago, came from a collision between two black holes. It took 1.3 billion years for the waves to arrive at the LIGO detector in the USA.”

Weiss is professor of physics emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Barish is Linde Professor of Physics emeritus and Kip Thorne is Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics emeritus, California Institute of Technology.

At Illinois Tech’s Nobel Prize colloquium on November 9, senior lecturer Yuri Shylnov will begin the discussion with a theoretical overview of the concept of gravity waves and how they are described and predicted in Einstein’s theory of relativity. Research professor Tom Roberts will then describe the laser interferometry technique utilized by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations to obtain their exquisite precision in searching for gravity waves in the universe. Finally, Adjunct professor Sally Laurent-Muehleisen will overview the far-reaching implications of gravity wave detection for astronomy and stellar and nuclear astrophysics, including discussion of the recent LIGO-enabled first-ever detection of a neutron star – neutron star merger.

To learn more:

  • Nobel Prize page about the award written for physicists and non-physicists.
  • New York Times video describing the discovery the Nobel was awarded for; another one.