Nobel laureates’ connection with IUCAA

Pranita Roy
Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Pune: It was a proud moment when the three physicists Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish won the Nobel Prize in Physics for detection and observation of gravitational wave project -- a feat in which Pune-based scientists also made a significant contribution. Sanjeev Dhurandhar and his team from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) worked closely with the trio on this project.

Pune: It was a proud moment when the three physicists Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish won the Nobel Prize in Physics for detection and observation of gravitational wave project -- a feat in which Pune-based scientists also made a significant contribution. Sanjeev Dhurandhar and his team from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) worked closely with the trio on this project.

In fact, Thorne had said long ago that India’s engagement with Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) will drive the technology notches higher and will be beneficial for India. 

Sakal Times spoke to the scientists from IUCAA associated with this project, who are elated about the honour. 

Scientist Sanjit Mitra said, “The Nobel Prize gives a new dimension to the discovery. However, this is just the beginning there more interesting facts to come out soon.”

Thorne’s support
Tarun Souradeep, who is the spokesperson of LIGO India, said, “When I had met Thorne in Paris in 2009, he had mentioned that India must participate in the LIGO which will take the country into the wider horizon. Now, that we are setting up a LIGO lab in IUCAA, Thorne has been extremely supportive and is available for any help. Thorne had first visited IUCAA on 60th birthday of Dhurandhar and our bond strengthened from there. He has written to us about several researches and initiatives which will be helpful for the centre in future experiments.”

Talking about the trio’s association with IUCAA, Director Somak Raychaudhury said, “Thorne and Barry have visited IUCAA while Rainer Weiss is yet to visit the centre. Although Weiss is keen in visiting India, his poor health restricts him from travelling for long hours and hence, his visit is awaited. However, Weiss has been always available on mails, calls and also we often visit him. He monitors and communicates about any development that takes place in LIGO project with us.”

Dhurandhar expressed his happiness about the feat and said, “I had penned my research statement in the 91st paper in 1994 to include a different geometrical mechanism to identify binary black holes which are compact.” Dhurandhar had pioneered the detection of gravitational wave in India, had been researching on detection and observation of gravitational waves since 30 years. Dhurandhar is currently professor emeritus at IUCAA.

IUCAA's achievement
Out of 40 scientists in India, 10 scientists from IUCAA have participated in the first discovery paper of detection and observation of gravitational waves project. The group developed a data analysis mechanism which can detect gravitational wave signals in noise.

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