Stockholm: US scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for their pioneering role in the detection of gravitational waves. Ripples in the fabric of space-time first predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein, gravitational waves sparked a revolution in astrophysics when their first detection was announced early last year.
Physics is the second of this year’s crop of Nobel Prizes and comes after Americans Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on Monday.
The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of Swedish business tycoon Alfred Nobel, who bequeathed much of the fortune he generated from his discovery of dynamite.
Among the science prizes, physics has often taken centre stage with laureates including scientific super stars such as Einstein, Niels Bohr and Marie Curie, one of only two women to win a Nobel Prize for Physics. Weiss won half the prize with Barish and Thorne sharing the other half.
Here is a list of the 10 most recent Nobel Physics Prize winners, after the 2017 prize was awarded on Tuesday to three US astrophysicists for the discovery of gravitational waves.
■ 2017: Barry Barish, Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss for the discovery of gravitational waves, a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago as part of his theory of general relativity.
■ 2016: David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz (Britain) for their study of strange phenomena in unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films.
■ 2015: Takaaki Kajita (Japan) and Arthur McDonald (Canada) for their work on neutrinos.
■ 2014: Isamu Akasaki (Japan), Hiroshi Amano (Japan) and Shuji Nakamura (US) for their work on LED lamps.
■ 2013: Peter Higgs (Britain) and Francois Englert (Belgium) for their work on the so-called Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that gives mass to other particles.
■ 2012: Serge Haroche (France) and David Wineland (US) for experimental methods used to measure and manipulate quantum systems.
■ 2011: Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess (US) and Brian Schmidt (US-Australian) for discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe.
■ 2010: Andre Geim (Netherlands-Britain) and Konstantin Novoselov (Russia-Britain) for work on the two-dimensional material graphene.
■ 2009: Charles Kao (Britain-US), Willard S. Boyle (Canada-US) and George E. Smith (US) for work on light transmission with optical fibres and semiconductor circuits.
■ 2008: Makoto Kobayashi, Toshihide Maskawa (Japan) and Yoichiro Nambu (US) for discovering the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics.
— AFP, Reuters contributed to this story