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Nine pioneering scientists from Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the USA have been named this year's recipients of the Kavli Prizes - prizes that recognize scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Ole M. Sejersted announced the names of the winners today, June 2.
This year's laureates were selected for the direct detection of gravitational waves, the invention and realization of atomic force microscopy, and for the discovery of mechanisms that allow experience and neural activity to remodel brain function.
Ronald W.P. Drever Kip S. Thorne Rainer Weiss
The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics is shared between Ronald W.P. Drever and Kip S. Thorne, both from the California Institute of Technology, USA, and Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. They receive the prize “for the direct detection of gravitational waves”.
The signal picked up by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US on September 14, 2015, lasted just a fifth of a second but brought to an end a decades-long hunt to directly detect the ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves. It also opened up a completely new way of doing astronomy, which uses gravitational rather than electromagnetic radiation to study some of the most extreme and violent phenomena in the universe.
This detection has, in a single stroke and for the first time, validated Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity for very strong fields, established the nature of gravitational waves, demonstrated the existence of black holes with masses 30 times that of our sun, and opened a new window on the universe.
The detection of gravitational waves is an achievement for which hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians around the world share credit. Drever, Thorne and Weiss stand out: their ingenuity, inspiration, intellectual leadership and tenacity were the driving force behind this epic discovery.
Gerd Binnig, Christoph Gerber and Calvin Quate share the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience. The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience goes to Eve Marder, Michael Merzenich and Carla Shatz.
The Kavli Prize is awarded by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and consists of a cash award of 1 million US dollars in each field. The laureates receive in addition a gold medal and a scroll.
Today's announcement was made by Ole M. Sejersted, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and transmitted live to New York as part of the opening event at the World Science Festival, where France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation, delivered the keynote address.
For more information: http://english.dnva.no/nyheter/vis.html?tid=67432
Kavli Prize website: http://www.kavliprize.org/