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University of Chicago Invites Public to Free Lecture on Detection of Gravitational Waves on Tuesday, Aug. 9

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–August 2, 2016.  Barry Barish, a key scientific leader behind the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), will deliver a free public lecture on the “The Detection of Gravitational Waves from Binary Black Hole Mergers,” at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 9, in the Chicago Ballroom of the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 301 E. North Water St.

The Linde Professor of Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Barish has played multiple key roles for LIGO since 1994. LIGO has made international headlines twice this year with its discoveries of gravitational waves, whose existence was predicted by Albert Einstein in his 1915 general theory of relativity.

Barry Barish

Barry Barish

Barish became LIGO’s principal investigator in 1994 and its director in 1997. He led the project through the final design stage, approval for federal funding in 1994, and then the construction and commissioning of the LIGO interferometers in Livingston, La., and Hanford, Wash. In 1997, he created the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which now encompasses more than 1,000 scientists globally.

Barish also is the former director of the Global Design Effort for the International Linear Collider, the highest-priority future project for particle physics worldwide.

Earlier in his research career, Barish performed other noteworthy experiments, especially those at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory using high-energy neutrino collisions to reveal the quark substructure of the nucleon (a proton or a neutron). These experiments were among the first to observe the weak neutral current, a linchpin of the electroweak unification theories of Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg, who received the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics for the work.

Barish earned both his bachelor’s degree in physics and his doctorate in experimental particle physics at the University of California, Berkeley. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences and membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society (APS). A former president of the 50,000-member APS, he has served also on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation and advises the president and Congress on policy issues related to science, engineering and education.

The Barish lecture is being held in connection with the 2016 International Conference on High Energy Physics, of which the University of Chicago is a co-sponsor.