Barish, Barry Clark

Barish, Barry Clark, 1936–, American experimental physicist, b. Omaha, Nebr. Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1962. Barish has been a professor (emeritus from 2005) at the California Institute of Technology since 1966. He studied neutrino collisions and also sought to develop the field of particle astrophysics before joining the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) as principal investigator in 1994. As director from 1997 to 2005, he helped reorganize and develop the LIGO project and created an international consortium of astronomers and physicists to analyze the data produced by the facility, thereby laying the groundwork for the detection of gravitational waves, which had been predicted by Albert Einstein, in 2015 (see gravitation). In 2017 he and Kip Thorne received half of the Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the LIGO detector and to the observation of gravitational waves; Rainer Weiss was awarded the other half of the prize for his work on LIGO.

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