"Rai, Kip and Barry launched the LIGO project decades ago and worked very hard to confirm Einstein's theory", said Kalogera, director of Northwestern's Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and the Linzer Distinguished University Professor in Physics and Astronomy in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
"(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.
Not only was it the first time gravitational waves were accurately measured, but it was also the first observation of a "binary black hole merger" - which occurs when two black holes are so close to each other that they end up caught in each other's gravitational pull, circling each other and becoming one massive black hole.
With Tuesday's announcement, the total number of Physics Nobel Prize recipients has increased to 206 (the total number of Prizes is 207; John Bardeen received the award twice). But that does not curb speculation.
The fourth gravitational wave, observed on August 14, 2017, was made using two LIGO detectors in the USA -loacated in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington - and the Virgo detector in Italy. This year, the predictions came true.
The team said in June that it again detected gravitational waves from two colliding black holes on December 26, 2015. Gravitational waves are a whole new way of observing some of the most stormy events in the universe and a sequential test of the boundaries of human knowledge. These are tubes in which laser beams pass through an nearly ideal vacuum. Drever invented several key elements of the LIGO design, Whitcomb says, but he was not as self-effacing as Weiss and Thorne. 1962 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA.
"Hunting stands are nearby in the woods, but they point away from the beam lines. And that I had put my own energies in the right directions to help make it happen".
Aside from his work on LIGO, Thorne is known for his theories about time travel.
The teams involved in the discovery quickly emerged as favourites for Tuesday's prize. He is largely credited with turning the project round and bringing it to completion. President Trump proposed a budget cut of 11 percent to the NSF, but Congress has been more supportive of the agency.
Among the science prizes, physics has often taken centre stage with laureates including scientific super stars such as Einstein, Niels Bohr and Marie Curie, one of only two women to win a Nobel Prize for Physics. More recent laureates include University of Manchester scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who won the 2010 prize.
Spotting the phenomenon requires measuring this tiny movement, which covers a distance 1,000 times smaller than the width of a proton, the nuclear heart of an atom.
■ 2013: Peter Higgs (Britain) and Francois Englert (Belgium) for their work on the so-called Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that gives mass to other particles.
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