Rainer Weiss Receives The Weber Award

Rainer Weiss (LIGO MIT) is the winner of the 2018 Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation, the American Astronomical Society has announced. The award was established in 2002 and is presented annually "to an individual [...] for the design, invention, or significant improvement of instrumentation (not software) leading to advances in astronomy." The citation states that Weiss is recognized "For his invention of the interferometric gravitational-wave detector, which led to the first detection of long-predicted gravitational waves from astronomical sources by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)".

Rainer Weiss is one of the co-founders of LIGO and a key contributor to the concept of laser interferometry as a tool for gravitational wave detection. In 1967 Weiss published a paper with the analysis of the use of laser interferometry and later built prototype instruments. For his work, Weiss, along with Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Past awardees included key contributors to such instruments and projects as the Hubble Space Telescope, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Herschel Space Observatory, the Magellan Telescope, and others.

Image credit: MIT/Bryce Vickmark

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