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Sheffield University scientist part of Nobel Prize winning team

Sheffield University scientist part of Nobel Prize winning team

Dr Ed Daw from the University of Sheffield’s department of Physics and Astronomy is part of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration that made the Nobel Prize winning discovery.

The very first observation of Gravitational Waves, which was first theorised by Albert Einstein more than a century ago, was announced in February of 2016 and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. The discovery has been over forty years in the making and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration consists of over 1000 scientists from all around the world.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Based on the signals, Dr Daw and the network of LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes, from which the gravitational waves were detected, were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and collided around 1.3 billion years ago.

Reacting to Nobel Prize announcement Dr Daw, who has been researching gravitational waves with LIGO since 1998, said: “I’m pleased to see this achievement recognised on behalf of the thousands of scientists who work on LIGO, including the University of Sheffield group.

Dr Daw added: “The future of gravitational wave physics is now intimately tied up with the future of astronomy. The field is set to expand rapidly, with more sensitive instruments needed to sense smaller signals and larger scale instruments needed to probe lower frequencies where many of the astronomical signals lie”.

 

Artist’s illustration of supermassive black hole pair. Image credit: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart

 

To read more on this story or if you want more information on the University of Sheffield’s department of Physics and Astronomy visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/physics/news

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