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Physicist Who Fled Nazis Wins Nobel For Gravity Waves Breakthrough

Scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics for decisive contributions in the observation of gravitational waves, the award-giving body said on Tuesday.

Weiss, a professor emeritus at MIT, was born in Germany in 1932 and immigrated to the United States in January of 1939, escaping the Nazi regime, Haaretz reported.

Weiss said the award was the result of the collaboration of 1,000 people involved in the LIGO project, which observed gravitational waves and confirmed a century-old theory by Albert Einstein.

Weiss said the team didn’t believe its own discovery at first.

“It took us a long time – almost two months – to convince ourselves that we had seen something from the outside that was truly a gravitational wave,” he told a press conference.

“This is something completely new and different, opening up unseen worlds,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement on awarding the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million)prize.

“A wealth of discoveries awaits those who succeed in capturing the waves and interpreting their message.”


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