Nobel laureate physicist heads to Perth

Nobel laureate Rainer Weiss will be a guest at the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) Congress, which will run between December 9 and 13 in Perth, Australia.

The event is billed as “a magnificent week of world-class science” and will be held at the University of Western Australia Crawley Campus.

Weiss won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”. 

He was awarded half the prize, with the other half shared by physicists Kip Thorne and Barry Barish.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is located in Louisiana and Washington State in the US, and the two centres are calibrated to jointly collect data on gravitational waves.

Construction on LIGO began in 1994, with main observations beginning after 20 years of construction, expansion, and piloting. 

In September 2014, the facility detected gravitational waves from two black holes which were converging more than 1.3 billion light years from Earth.

Weiss is now Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge Massachusetts, and an adjunct professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Louisiana.

Along with the Nobel, he has won numerous international awards including an MIT excellence in teaching award and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has served on committees such as the Committee on NASA Astrophysics Performance Assessment and the Panel on Particle, Nuclear, and Gravitational-wave Astrophysics.

The AIP Congress will be staged jointly with the Australian Optical Society (AOS) Conference, the Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology (ACOFT), and the 2018 Conference on Optoelectronic and Microelectronic Materials and Devices (COMMAND 2018). 

Other keynote speakers include Julia Yeomans from the University of Oxford in the UK, Michael Wiescher from the University of Notre Dame in the US, and Chandralekha Singh from the University of Pittsburgh in the US, among others.

In total there are 15 plenaries and more than 100 invited speakers and presenters discussing their research and practice, with workshops throughout the week on topics such as physics in education, diversity and equity, and scientific publishing.

Day passes, as well as discounted registration for undergraduate students and school teachers are available. 

Registration information is available here.

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