La Sapienza - Università di Roma

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SAPIENZA'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE PHYSICS NOBEL PRIZE

Professor Fulvio Ricci coordinated a team at the Sapienza Physics Department investigating gravitational waves as part of Project Virgo, funded by the National Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). Now, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thornewas have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, for their contributions to the LIGO observatory.

The LIGO and Virgo international collaborations, which began in 2007, led to the announcement of the first direct revelation of a gravitational wave on February 11, 2016. The signal produced by the progressive approach and fusion of two black holes tens of times the mass of the sun and more than a billion light years away, was collected by the two LIGO interferometers installed in the US and confirmed by the of the international Virgo Network interferometer installed in Cascina.

The LIGO-Virgo Agreement provides for coordination in the data collection of the three detectors, as well as the analysis and presentation of the results. Since then, multiple observations have been made by the network, greatly improving the observational limits of gravitational wave signals.

Sapienza shares the enthusiasm for this important achievement. "The Virgo Network congratulates and celebrates with Ray, Kip and Barry,” says Fulvio Ricci, “the first direct observation of a gravitational wave signal. These three scientists have contributed with original ideas and actions to achieving this result, which provides a fundamental confirmation of Einstein's Theory and opens a new window for the observation of our Universe. "