Seven days ago, the Virgo Consortium announced the fourth detection of gravity waves caused by the cataclysmic collision of two black holes. The newly operational Virgo observatory and the two existing LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) installations all observed this event, caused by two black holes colliding two billion years ago. (See “Advanced Virgo detects gravity waves—only the fourth time this has happened—and FGPAs were involved (of course)”) Yesterday, the Nobel committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that three American physics professors including Rainer Weiss from MIT and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish from the California Institute of Technology have received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for architecting the LIGO observatory and for the first gravity wave observations, which have once again confirmed some of the spacetime implications of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
(The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences actually used the more colorful word “captured” instead of “observed.”)
Although Xilinx Spartan FPGAs are peripherally involved in these bleeding-edge, Nobel-winning scientific achievements, the day really belongs to Weiss, Thorne, Barish, and of course Einstein.
“How to catch a gravitational wave” from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences article “Cosmic Chirps”