Barry Barish is a Linde Professor of Physics, emeritus at California Institute of Technology. He is a leading expert on gravitational waves.
In 2017, Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne „for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.
In 2018, he joined the faculty at University of California, Riverside, becoming the university’s second Nobel Prize winner on the faculty.
First Barish’s experiments were performed at Fermilab using high-energy neutrino collisions to reveal the quark substructure of the nucleon. These experiments were among the first to observe the weak neutral current, a linchpin of the electroweak unification theories of Glashow, Salam, and Weinberg.
The initial LIGO detectors reached design sensitivity and set many limits on astrophysical sources. The Advanced LIGO proposal was developed while Barish was director, and he has continued to play a leading role in LIGO and Advanced LIGO. The first detection of the merger of two 30 solar mass black holes was made on September 14, 2015. This represented the first direct detection of gravitational waves since they were predicted by Einstein in 1916 and the first ever observation of the merger of a pair of black holes. Barish delivered the first presentation on this discovery to a scientific audience at CERN on February 11, 2016, simultaneously with the public announcement.
Barish received many awards, like the Klopsteg Memorial Award, Enrico Fermi Prize, Smithsonian magazine’s American Ingenuity Award, Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize of the European Physical Society, Princess of Asturias Award, Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award.
He was honored by the University of Bologna and University of Florida where he received honorary doctorates. He was also honored as a Titan of Physics in the On the Shoulders of Giants series at the 2016 World Science Festival.
In 2018, Barish was honored as the Alumnus of the year by the University of California, Berkeley, he received an honorary doctorate at Southern Methodist University and was conferred the Honorary Degree Doctor Honoris Causa of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.
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