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Gravitational-wave detection earns LIGO the Breakthrough Prize

LIGO detector at Hanford, Washington

The LIGO detector site at Hanford, Washington. Each arm of the detector is 2.5 miles long (Photo credit: LIGO) is reporting that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and associated researchers earned a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics of $3 million.

Breakthrough Prizes were founded by several billionaires in the technology sector like Google’s Sergey Brin, Facebook’s MArk Zuckerburg and Russian investor Yuri Milner. These prizes have been given out to researchers in life sciences, physics, and mathematics. Prizes are awarded at any time and although it is relatively new compared to the Nobel Prize, it does offer more money up front.

Eight researchers and students in the Department of Physics at the University of Oregon were named in the article due to their part in the LIGO research team and will receive a portion of the prize:

  • James Brau, Knight Professor of Natural Science and Director of the Center for High Energy Physics
  • Raymond Frey, Department Head
  • Robert Schofield, Research Assistant Professor
  • Dipongkar Talukder, Research Associate
  • Sudarshan Karki, Graduate Student
  • Jordan Palamos, Graduate Student
  • Vincent Roma, Graduate Student
  • Paul Schale, Graduate Student

Congratulations to the team in general and the researchers in particular!

For more on the article from GeekWire, check out this link.

For the research paper Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger that won the prize, click this link.