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Weiss, who works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will receive half the amount, and the rest will be split between Barish and Thorne, from the California Institute of Technology.

Today the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the pioneering leaders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, for the first detection of gravitational waves.

"This was a high-risk, very-high-potential-payoff enterprise", Thorne told Quanta past year.

Other Nobel Prizes will be awarded over the next few days - chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, peace on Friday and economics on October 9.

Weiss seconded that sentiment during a news conference, saying that the Nobel "recognizes the work of a thousand people".

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics are shared by three scientists, announced the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.

According to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, "gravitational waves spread at the speed of light, filling the universe". In its announcement of the award, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the waves "are always created when a mass accelerates, like when an ice-skater pirouettes or a pair of black holes rotate around each other". "The best way I can think of it is we're symbols for the much bigger group of people who made [LIGO] happen".

They were detected within 69 milliseconds apart at LIGO's major detectors.

"The beam must hit the mirrors precisely".

A few months later, in December 2015, the LIGO team detected another black-hole merger.

A visualisation of the gravity waves caused by two black holes merging.

So far the LIGO twin detectors in Louisiana and Washington - and a new one in Italy - have spotted four gravitational waves in about two years since going online in September 2015. Although the signal is extremely weak when it arrives to the Earth, it is a promise for a revolution in astrophysics.

"It's very very exciting that it worked out in the end, that we are actually detecting things and adding to the knowledge through gravitational waves of what goes on in the universe". The recipients are Rainer Weiss, a physics professor at MIT, and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, who are both physics professors at Caltech. For the past 25 years, the prize has been shared among multiple winners. "The black holes are the most obvious but there are many, many others", he said in a telephone call with the Nobel committee. LSU faculty, students and scholars have had leading roles in the development of several generations of gravitational wave detectors, in their commissioning and operation as well as the collaborations formed.

All three scientists are members of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration. The discovery revolutionized the field of astronomy, giving scientists a new way to study the mysterious, dark objects that lurk in the distant Universe.

For most of history, astronomers peered into the sky with telescopes looking at signs of visible light. It may also provide insight into the universe's very earliest moments. Many believe that had he lived, Drever would have also been awarded the prize.