Kavli Prize in Astrophysics goes to gravitational waves researchers

2 June 2016

The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics has been awarded to UK physicist Professor Ronald Drever and US professors Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss, for “the direct detection of gravitational waves”.

Ronald Drever
©IAU/Gruber Foundation
Ronald Drever

The three researchers will share the $1 m prize, which is awarded by a partnership of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Kavli Foundation and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Last month the three were awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, also for the detection of gravitational waves.

Making the announcement on 2 June, the Kavli Prize partnership said hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians shared credit for the detection of gravitational waves, but the three prize-winners stood out. “Their ingenuity, inspiration, intellectual leadership and tenacity were the driving force behind this epic discovery,” it said.

Commenting on their achievement, the IOP’s president, Professor Roy Sambles, said: “Remarkable perseverance and tenacity, aligned with astonishing experimental skill backed by foundational theory, has opened up a new way of exploring the universe – a major scientific breakthrough for the 21st century. Brilliant.”

The three will be presented with their share of the prize as well as gold medals and scrolls by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway at a ceremony in Oslo in September.

The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, and the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience – awarded for “the invention and realisation of atomic force microscopy, a breakthrough in measurement technology and nanosculpting” – will also be presented at the ceremony.