Magazine article American Scientist

Sigma XI Members Win Nobel Prizes

Magazine article American Scientist

Sigma XI Members Win Nobel Prizes

Article excerpt

Sigma Xi member Kip S. Thorne of the California Institute of Technology shares the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics with Barry C. Barish, from the same institution, and Rainer Weiss from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All three were part of the collaboration between the two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in the US and the Virgo detector near Pisa, Italy. The trio earned the prize for "decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves." In an interview with Adam Smith, chief scientific officer of Nobel Media, Thome called the prize a remarkable team effort.

"We live in an era where some huge discoveries are really the result of giant collaborations, with major contributions coming from very large numbers of people," Thome said. "I hope that in the future the Nobel Prize committee finds a way to award the prize to the large collaborations that make this, and not just to the people who may have been seminal to the beginning of the project, as we were. …

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