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Since the first detection in 2015, LIGO has detected gravitational waves three more times.

If gravitational waves are at play, the laser light will have travelled a slightly different distance and that variation is detected. According to his theory, as gargantuan bodies such as black holes accelerate because of gravity, they will emit vast amounts of energy and generate gravitational waves that propagate through the universe, sometimes passing through Earth.

"I view this more as a thing that recognizes the work of a thousand people", Weiss said. He said the award was the result of the collaboration of 1,000 people involved in the LIGO project, which observed gravitational waves and confirmed a century-old theory by Albert Einstein.

Dr Brian Bowsher, chief executive of the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council, said: "The award of the Nobel today is a celebration of the genius of a vast team of people, including many UK-based scientists and engineers, and it is something everyone in the United Kingdom can share in".

The discovery and the repeated detection (four times now) has made the possibility of gravitational wave astronomy very real.

The 2017 prize being announced Tuesday by Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences comes with 9 million kronor ($1.1 million). University of Florida's Clifford Will said it offers a new way of observing the cosmos beyond light and particles.

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"It's very sad that one of the UK's gravitational-wave pioneers, Ron Drever, didn't live to see this fantastic recognition of these ground-breaking discoveries".

Weiss earned a doctoral degree in 1962 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a professor of physics at MIT, as well. It's designed so that if a gravitational wave passes by, it will stretch space along one direction of the tunnel and squish space along the direction of the other. It took months for the scientists to convince themselves that they had in fact heard gravitational waves, he said. Over the next decade, Barish "transformed LIGO from a limited MIT/Caltech endeavour to a major global, gravitational-wave project", Nobel Prize committee wrote.

He said that as the detectors develop and become more sensitive, scientists will be able to look deeper into the universe and gain more insights into the origins of the universe. LIGO India is a joint scientific collaboration between LIGO laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the USA, and three leading Indian institutions, namely, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar, and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.

The CSU group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration is led by University Distinguished Professor Carmen Menoni, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Nobel Prize will be handed out on December 10 on the anniversary of the death of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who created the award in 1895.