The Nobel Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Physics Prize for 2017 to a group of American scientists who developed the LIGO detector that detected gravitational waves. The main algorithm for analyzing LIGO signals was implemented by Sergey Klimenko, a graduate of the NSU Physics Department.
Klimenko worked at the Institute of Nuclear Physics SB RAS, then at the Enrico Fermi American National Laboratory. He has been engaged in LIGO experiments since 1997. His computer program has been used for LIGO experiments since 2004. Currently, Klimenko works at the University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida, USA) in the Institute for High Energy Physics and Astrophysics. Klimenko commented on the win:
– The awards were given to Rainer Weiss, Berry Barish and Kip Thorne for their decisive contribution to the LIGO project and the observation of gravitational waves. For me and my colleagues in the project, the awarding of the Nobel Prize is a joyful event, but it is not unexpected. Weiss, Berish and Thorn stood at the origins of LIGO. They developed the basic ideas, grounded the project and its financing, united hundreds of scientists who built a successfully working detector. The discovery of the first gravitational signal on September 14, 2015 from the fusion of two black holes confirmed the predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity and showed the unique capabilities of LIGO as a fundamentally new tool for studying the universe. Since that time, several new dual systems of black holes have been discovered, and no doubt, LIGO will continue to make interesting discoveries in the future.
Another NSU graduate, Yuri Minenkov also contributed to the discovery of gravity. He is now a Senior Fellow at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Italy (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare) and has been a participant in the VIRGO project (Italian-French gravitational wave collaboration, which also includes the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, which includes about 300 scientists) since 2006. Minenkov added his thoughts about the prize:
– Of course, the Nobel Prize for a development you took part in is an extremely exciting and extraordinary event. The first direct recording of gravitational waves (predicted 100 years ago by Einstein) is a fundamental breakthrough in astrophysics. In August this year, during the joint operation of the three Ligo and Virgo interferometers, new extremely important and interesting results were obtained. One of these is the simultaneous registration of the merger of a new pair of black holes with very high accuracy in determining their location, and the other will be officially announced on October 16 at press conference in Washington. At the moment, we can confidently state that the era of gravitational wave astronomy has begun. This is a new powerful tool for exploring the universe and will undoubtedly lead to new important discoveries.