A team of scientists, who are working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment, have received a Special Breakthrough Prize in fundamental physics. The LIGO experiment had discovered the gravitational waves in September 2015. Since 2012, the Breakthrough Prizes have been given for breakthrough achievements in mathematics, physics and the life sciences. Along with each prize also comes a reward of whopping $3 million. (Also read. NASA's Fermi Telescope detects Gamma-Ray Burst near gravitational wave source)
A ceremony will be held in the fall of 2016 in which the laureates will all be recognised, website of the Breakthrough Prize says. The international LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), which involves thousands of scientists and engineers, maintains and operates the LIGO. Two subsets of the LSC will receive the prize of $3 million out of which $1 million will be distributed among the three conceivers of LIGO – Kip Thorne, Ray Weiss and Ron Drever. The another $2 million will be distributed among 1,012 scientists who helped discover the gravitational waves.
According to the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), Bengaluru, 37 researchers from around India belong to the second subset. Seven, including including Bala Iyer, a notable veteran of gravitational physics research, are from the ICTS itself. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated the Indian scientists for receiving the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. (Also read. Gravitational waves study: LIGO project in India expected to be functional by 2023)
"Congratulations to the Indian scientists who are among the recipients of the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. These scientists have been awarded for detection of gravitational waves, an exceptional scientific accomplishment", the Prime Minister tweeted.