LIGO Members Awarded Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

The award recognizes the contribution to the discovery of gravitational waves.

On May 2, 2016, the Selection Committee of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics announced the award of Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in recognition of scientists and engineers contributing to the detection of gravitational waves.

From the Breakthrough Prize website:

"Selection Committee of previous Breakthrough Prize winners recognizes contributors to experiment recording waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away. [...] The Special Breakthrough Prize can be conferred at any time in recognition of an extraordinary scientific achievement."

The $3 million Prize will be shared between 2 groups: three founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) -- Prof Ronald W.P. Drever (Caltech), Prof Kip S. Thorne (Caltech), and Prof Rainer Weiss (MIT) -- will equally share $1 million; and 1012 contributors to the experiment will equally share $2 million. The contributors to the experiment include tho 1005 authors of the discovery paper from the LSC and Virgo collaborations.

They also include seven scientists who made special contributions to the success of LIGO: Luc Blanchet (CNRS); Thibault Damour (IHES); Lawrence Kidder (Cornell University); Frans Pretorius (Princeton University); Mark Scheel (Caltech); Saul A. Teukolsky (Cornell University); and Rochus E. Vogt (Caltech).

Image credit: breakthroughprize.org