LIGO’s gravitational wave detection is Physics World 2016 Breakthrough of the Year

by Clifford M Will.


Physics World breakthrough of the year prize

The Physics World 2016 Breakthrough of the Year goes to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for their revolutionary, first ever direct observations of gravitational waves.

Long awaited direct detection of Einstein’s gravitational-waves tops Physics World’s list of the 10 key breakthroughs in physics in 2016

It give me great pleasure to report that the LIGO Scientific Collaboration are to receive Physics World’s Breakthrough of the year award.  At the end of every year, the Physics World editorial team reveals what it believes to be the top 10 research breakthroughs for the past year and one of these is selected to be the Physics World Breakthrough of the year.

In recognition of this achievement, the Physics World team have created a short documentary movie with the assistance of members of the LIGO collaboration from Cardiff University.

The video features Samantha Usman, who recently wrote an excellent CQG+ entry about the discovery.
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Video: A look at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

James DACEY

James Dacey is multimedia projects editor for Physics World

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) promises to usher in a new era in radio astronomy. Astronomers will use the telescope to probe the early universe by looking as far back in time as the first 100 million years after the Big Bang. It will also be employed to search for life and planets, as well as to study the nature of dark energy, and to examine theories of gravity and general relativity.

I recently travelled to the global headquarters of the SKA Organisation at the Jodrell Bank observatory in the north of England, along with a small film crew. We met scientists and engineers involved with the SKA, and we produced this short film about what the project is designed to achieve. The video takes you on a tour of the sites in Australia and southern Africa that will host the SKA, featuring artists’ impressions of the impressive telescope equipment.

It was inspiring to hear the SKA representatives talk about the unprecedented scale of the project and the range of scientific fields that stand to benefit from the new tool. But it was also interesting to learn about the economic and social considerations that underpin a scientific project of such vast scale. The hope is that it can inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in Australia and the African continent.

We produced the film in connection with the July issue of Physics World, a special issue devoted to dark matter and dark energy. Physics World is published by the Institute of Physics, which also publishes CQG and CQG+.