Department Celebrates Nobel Prize in Physics

   Physics | Posted on March 1, 2019

On the morning of October 3, 2017 students arriving at their classes in the Science Complex were treated to a cup of sparkling juice as the Department of Physics celebrated the announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. This year’s prize is being awarded to three leaders of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration: Rai Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for LIGO’s successful measurement of gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are the faint ripples in the fabric of spacetime, predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity and produced by the most cataclysmic events in the universe. The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) detectors, along with the Italian Virgo detector have measured gravitational waves from both binary black hole and binary neutron star collisions. These measurements have provided important tests of general relativity as well as opened a new way to observe the universe.

Tiffany Summerscales has led a LIGO research group at Andrews for the past 11 years. She and her students have worked on projects involving data analysis, detector characterization and public education. The Department of Physics was excited to ceelebrate this contribution to recognized research.

Below is a list of current and former Andrews student members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Congratulations on your involvement in Nobel Prize-winning work!

  • Nicholas Valles (BS physics, mathematics, 2008)
  • Jonathon Van Ornam (BS biophysics, 2009)
  • Philip Roberts (BS physics, mathematical studies, 2007; MS mathematics and science, 2009)
  • Jason Lee (BS biophysics, 2008)
  • Eric Shull (BS mathematics, 2009)
  • Garret Catron (BSE engineering, 2011)
  • Andrew Hoff (BS physics, 2011)
  • Chris Greenley (BS physics, mathematical studies, 2013)
  • Michael McMearty (BS physics, mathematics, 2015)
  • Belinda Cheeseboro (BS physics, mathematical studies, 2015) [current LIGO member, West Virgina University]
  • William Tritch (BS physics, mathematics, 2014)
  • Fritz Miot (BS biophysics, 2015)
  • Jonathan Wheeler (BS physics, mathematical studies; BSE engineering, 2016)
  • Shannen Velasquez (BS physics, in progress)
  • Isabel Stafford (BS physics, mathematical studies, 2016)
  • Gia Smart (BS physics, in progress)
  • Richard Clark (BSM music, 2017)
  • Jacob Willard (BS physics, BA music, in progress)
  • Zachariah Swerdlow (BS physics, mathematical studies, in progress)
  • Lukasz Krzywon (BS physics, mathematics, 2017)
  • Darrick Horton (BS physics, BSE engineering, in progress)
  • Kelsey Rook (BS computer science, in progress)

Sponsors: Department of Physics

   Kelly Youngberg

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