LIGO Team Members To Receive 2018 Berkeley Prize

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Three representatives of the team that developed the second-generation detectors for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and used them to detect oscillations in the fabric of space-time will share the 2018 Lancelot M. Berkeley – New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy. Bestowed annually since 2011 by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the Berkeley prize includes a monetary award and an invitation to give the opening plenary presentation at the AAS winter meeting, often called the “Super Bowl of Astronomy.”

Dennis C. Coyne (Caltech), Peter K. Fritschel (MIT), and David H. Shoemaker (MIT) will share the 2018 Berkeley prize in recognition of their leadership roles in the development of the Advanced LIGO detectors, which have opened a new window on the universe. All three are coauthors of the LIGO team’s paper “Astrophysical Implications of the Binary Black Hole Merger GW150914,” one of the most widely cited astrophysics papers of 2016. It appeared in the 20 February 2016 issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, which is published by the AAS, and has been downloaded nearly 45,000 times.

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image: (left to right) Dennis Coyne, Peter Fritschel, and David Shoemaker