The 2017 Nobel Physics Prize has been awarded to three scientists for their discoveries in gravitational waves, per the AP. Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences announced Tuesday that the winners are Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology. The three were key to the first observation of gravitational waves in September 2015. The waves were predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago as part of his theory of general relativity, but they had never been detected.
When the discovery was announced several months later, it was a sensation not only among scientists but the general public. Gravitational waves are extremely faint ripples in the fabric of space and time, generated by some of the most violent events in the universe. Weiss, in a phone call with the news conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said, "I view this more as a thing that recognizes the work of a thousand people." The German-born Weiss was awarded half of the $1.1 million prize amount, and Thorne and Barish will split the other half. Weiss, Thorne, and Barish were among the founders of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, notes the New York Times.