Nobel Prize for Physics win for gravitational waves

Media Release
  • Minister for Education and Training

The Turnbull Government has congratulated the winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics, announced overnight, and the many Australian researchers and research institutions that have contributed to their work in gravitational waves.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said winners Professors Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barich and Kip S Thorne were all members of the international LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration and key participants in the significant gravitational waves detection in 2015.

“Australia backed the research effort at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration and a range of other related research with more than $11.5 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) funding,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“The Australian part of that team researching gravitational waves should be extremely proud of their efforts."

Professor Weiss said following the announcement: "I view this more as a thing that recognises the work of a thousand people."

Minister Birmingham said the major discovery of the detection of gravitational waves in 2015 was made using data from the LIGO detectors.

“LIGO research is carried out by a group of more than 1000 scientists from universities across 18 countries, including Australia,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This Nobel Prize is as much a recognition of the work of Professors Weiss, Barich and Thorne as it is of the many researchers they’ve been working alongside as part of an extensive international collaborative team that includes many Australians.

“The Turnbull Government has had a long-standing investment in the ground-breaking field of gravitational waves.

“Following on from that important discovery in 2015, we’re investing $31.3 million in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery - known as OzGrav - led by Swinburne University of Technology.

“OzGrav is helping Australia stay at the cutting edge of this new and rapidly advancing field. It will capitalise on the first detections of gravitational waves, to understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped space-time.

“On behalf of the Turnbull Government I congratulate the Nobel Prize winners and the many dedicated, hard-working and brilliant people they work alongside.”

More information about the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics award is available from the Nobel Prize website.

For information about the work of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Waves and the funding schemes of the Australian Research Council, please visit the ARC website.

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