GAMBIER — American researchers Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology have been awarded the 2017 Nobel Physics Prize for the discovery of gravitational waves.
Weiss said the breakthrough, and prize, is due to the work of more than a thousand scientists and graduate students around the world who are part of what is known as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) scientific collaboration.
Kenyon physics professors, husband and wife, Leslie “Les” Wade and Madeline Wade, along with several students, are among the researchers who assisted in the project.
Madeline Wade said it is exciting and “very cool” to be associated with Nobel Prize-winning research. As chair of the calibration team, she, her husband, and the students helped develop methods to analyze the resulting data and determine how to best use the data to understand the origins of gravitational waves.
Les, Madeline said, is focusing on how the data can be used as a tool for astronomical discovery, and what gravitational waves can reveal about astrophysics.
Concerning the Wades’ involvement, Kenyon president Sean Decatur told the News on Tuesday, “I think it is wonderful! Kenyon is fortunate to have professors involved in this important work that received recognition today from the Nobel committee. Very exciting for the faculty, the college, and for our students.”