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RSE President Congratulates Scientists Involved in Discovery of Gravitational Waves

Posted 11/02/2016

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, President of the RSE and renowned astrophysicist, today responded to the news that gravitational waves have been detected.

“As President of the RSE, Scotland’s National Academy, I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to all the Scottish scientists involved, including past and present members of the University of Glasgow and of the RSE Fellowship. This is a truly momentous discovery, opening up a totally new spectrum and providing a new way to observe the universe.

These waves were predicted by Einstein a hundred years ago in his theory of general relativity. It has taken decades of highly skilled innovative technical developments, on the part of scientists in Glasgow and elsewhere, to build equipment capable of detecting movements smaller than the nucleus of the atom.

I look forward to the detection of further gravitational wave sources, the opening up of this new field of astronomy, and the discoveries predictable and unpredictable that will come from it.  Like many of my generation I wasn't sure I would live to see this day, and am delighted to be around to congratulate those who have achieved this magnificent result.”

RSE Fellows involved in the discovery are:

Ron Drever, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology

Jim Hough, Research Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Glasgow

Sheila Rowan, Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Glasgow

Norna Robertson, California Institute of Technology, LIGO Project and Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Glasgow

Martin Hendry, Professor and Head of School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow

Ken Strain, Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Glasgow

RSE Young Academy of Scotland members involved in this discovery include:

Giles Hammond, Reader, Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow

Ik Heng Reader, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow

Stefan Hild, Reader, Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow

Stuart Reid, Reader, School of Engineering and Computing, University of the West of Scotland 

Click here to see the press release.


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