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Westinghouse STS alum wins Breakthrough Prize for gravitational wave detection

Students raise signs during the research quiz competition portion of the workshop. Photo courtesy of Abien Fred Agarap.

Society for Science & the Public alumnus Kip Thorne won a 2016 Breakthrough Prize for his work with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and gravitational waves.

Thorne, a Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California — and a Westinghouse Science Talent Search 1958 semifinalist — was recognized with a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. He was recognized in May, along with two other winners, for the detection of gravitational waves, which opens new horizons in astronomy and physics.

Thorne will share a single $1 million prize, with $2 million divided among the 1,012 members of the LIGO research group. The prize was awarded to founders and team members of LIGO.

This special award can be given any time “in recognition of an extraordinary scientific achievement,” according to an article in TechCrunch. It recognizes the LIGO team’s collaborative research on gravitational waves and the implications for physics and astronomy.

Read more about gravitational waves in Science News.