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Gravitational Waves Researchers receive Royal Astronomical Society Award

Monday 23rd January 2017

A simulated view of two Black Holes inspiraling before merger - against a backdrop of stars

A simulated view of two Black Holes inspiraling before merger.

The LIGO team, which includes a group of researchers from the School of Physics and Astronomy, has won the prestigious Royal Astronomical Society’s Group Achievement Award for last year’s detection of gravitational waves for the first time.

The Royal Astronomical Society announced the 2017 winners of its awards, medals and prizes last week. Each year the RAS recognises significant achievement in the fields of astronomy and geophysics through these awards.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team have won the Society’s Group Achievement Award for their detection of gravitational waves for the first time in 2016. Researchers from the Gravitational Physics Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University have been given special mention for the part they played in this ground breaking research.

The Society described the discovery by LIGO as an epochal event in physics and astronomy and cited the achievement as the culmination of decades of work involving teams working around the world, including those at Cardiff, Glasgow and Birmingham universities.

The Citation described the detection of gravitational waves as of fundamental importance as it is confirmation of the last hallmark prediction of general relativity. It said that the detection itself was a tour-de-force example of making the un-measurable measurable and that the discovery represented an historic advance of scientific, technological and engineering achievement.

The winners will be invited to collect their awards at the Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Hull in July.