4 October 2017

Physics Nobel Prize recognition for gravitational waves research 

The Australian Research Council (ARC) congratulates the recipients of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics for their leading work in the discovery of gravitational waves.

ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Sue Thomas, extended congratulations to Professor Rainer Weiss, receiving one half of the award, and Professors Barry C. Barich and Kip S Thorne, joint recipients of the second half of the award—all members of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration—on this fitting achievement.

The award acknowledges the researchers’ “decisive contribution to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.

“The Australian Research Council is proud of the many researchers involved in research into gravitational waves around the world, including many collaborating Australian researchers,” said Professor Thomas.

“The Australian Government, through the ARC, has made a long-standing investment in this rapidly advancing field.

“Since 2002, Australian research effort at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and a range of other gravitational wave-related research has been supported by more than $11.5 million in ARC funding, across a number of ARC funding schemes including the Discovery Projects; Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities; and Future Fellowships schemes.”

LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1000 scientists from universities across 18 countries including Australia, and the major discovery of gravitational waves detected in 2015 was made using data from the LIGO detectors.

“Following on from this important discovery, in 2017, the Australian Research Council provided $31.3 million over seven years for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery—known as OzGrav—led by Swinburne University of Technology.

“This Centre of Excellence is providing a massive boost to Australia’s ability to stay at the cutting edge of this new field. It will capitalise on the first detections of gravitational waves, to understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped space-time.

“Again, the ARC congratulates these Nobel Laureates as part of this truly international effort in this exciting field.”

For information about the details of the Physics Nobel Prize award, please visit the Nobel Prize website. For information about the work of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Waves, please visit the OzGrav website.

For more information about the ARC and its funding schemes, visit the ARC website.

Media contact: 
ARC Stakeholder Relations 
0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au