APS Congratulates LIGO Scientific Collaboration Scientists for Historic Discovery

COLLEGE PARK, MD, February 11, 2016 – The officers and executives of the American Physical Society joined with scientists around the world who were thrilled today to learn of the discovery announced by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

"I would like to extend the American Physical Society's sincere congratulations to the LIGO and Virgo collaborations for their stunning achievement in detecting gravitational waves," said APS President Homer Neal.

Although Einstein's General Theory of Relativity predicted the potential existence of gravitational waves almost exactly a hundred years ago, Einstein himself believed the effect to be too small to ever be seen experimentally. Indeed, it took an international collaboration of leading physicists and a scientific tour de force to construct a system that can measure distances to the extraordinary precision LIGO required for the landmark discovery.

"We are honored and proud that the collaboration chose to publish their momentous results in the APS flagship journal Physical Review Letters," said APS Chief Executive Officer Kate Kirby.

Perhaps even more significant than the initial detection of gravitational waves is the fact that LIGO has provided the first peek through what will someday be a whole new window to the universe, revealing objects and phenomena that can only be observed by measuring the ripples in spacetime that are gravitational waves.

"All the members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration deserve the highest praise that I and the APS can offer them,” said Neal, “for confirming a beautiful prediction of one of history's greatest theories."

The collaboration's Physical Review Letter presenting the results is freely available on the APS journals website.

Contact: James Riordon, APS, riordon@aps.org, (301) 209-3238

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The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 53,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.