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US Nobel laureate trio get Science Awards

    US Nobel laureate trio get Science Awards

    From left: Xu Ningsheng, president of Fudan University; Klaus von Klitzing, winner of Nobel Prize for Physics in 1985; Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish, the winners of this year’s Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award; Samuel CC Ting, chairman of the award committee who won the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics; Jiao Yang, Party chief of Fudan University; and Wang Wei, president of Zhongzhi Enterprise Group. 

    Three American physicists were presented with certificates and trophies at this year’s Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award ceremony yesterday for their decisive contributions to the observation of gravitational waves and their first detection.

    Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish also share the 3-million yuan (US$454,000) prize which was announced by Fudan University in September, shortly before the announcement that they had won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics.

    Their research and findings launched a new era of science, said Samuel CC Ting, chairman of the award committee.

    After the presentation, the three winners spoke at length on their research process and their discovery.

    Predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves are said to be “ripples in the curvature of space time” that propagate as waves at the speed of light.

    But detecting them proved a hard task. The breakthrough came on September 14, 2015, when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) team first observed gravitational waves originating from a pair of merging black holes.

    That not only proved Einstein’s prediction, but also enabled scientists to observe black holes directly, opening a new window to the exploration of the universe.

    Barish said technological developments were expected to improve the precision of the observatory and more facilities will also be put into use, including one in Japan and another in India, to build a worldwide observation network.

    The Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award was founded by Fudan University and Zhongzhi Enterprise Group in 2015 to recognize scientists who make fundamental achievements in the fields of mathematics, physics and biomedicine.

    Last year, it went to two scientists in biomedicine and next year’s will honor scientists in mathematics.