Hamptons Observatory Lecture Features Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Rainer Weiss

Nobel laureate Dr. Rainer Weiss
Nobel laureate Dr. Rainer Weiss
Courtesy Hamptons Observatory

Want to better understand the universe and explore the big question?

East Hampton-based Hamptons Observatory and Suffolk County Community College are joining forces to deliver at least some answers, or a better handle on how to think about the questions, with Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Current State and Future, a free, virtual lecture by 2017 Nobel Prize recipient Rainer Weiss Ph.D. on Thursday, October 20.

About Dr. Rainer Weiss

A Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Rainer Weiss won a 2017 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), which he shared with his colleagues Kip Thorne and Barry Barish of CalTech.

Dr. Weiss’s long and distinguished career was foreshadowed by his interest in electronics and radio technology when he was a boy in New York City. Years later, at MIT, he oversaw a scientific working group for NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) a satellite that gathered data which helped support the Big Bang Theory.

The initial design for his most recent and Nobel Prize-winning project, the LIGO detector, was conceived 50 years ago by Dr. Weiss and was first funded in 1990. LIGO involves over 1,000 researchers from 20 countries and is, without exaggeration, revolutionizing the fields of physics and astrophysics, enabling us to observe the universe in a unique way and, thus, acquire a better understanding of it and of such events as exploding stars, the collision of black holes, and even the birth of the universe.

Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Current State and Future

“We’re honored to host such a distinguished individual as Dr. Weiss and to collaborate with one of Long Island’s prominent academic institutions to present such a momentous experience,” Hamptons Observatory Executive Director Donna L. McCormick says, adding, “Dr. Weiss and his contribution to science will be remembered for generations to come.”

Sean Tvelia, Academic Chair of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College and a founding Board member of Hamptons Observatory, who will introduce Dr. Weiss before the lecture, agrees, “It’s rare to have such a distinguished scientist share his personal and professional insights into mysteries that stretch our understanding of the universe. We are fortunate to have this exceptional opportunity.”

In this virtual presentation, which begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, Dr. Weiss will talk about gravitational wave astronomy, its significance to our understanding of the universe, and his vision for the future of this unique field of science.

“It’s important to bring such knowledge-enriching events to our community for the benefit of all, but especially to teach and inspire the youth of this and future generations,” McCormick says. “Einstein is quoted as saying: ‘The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible’ (as seen in the “Physics and Reality” section of Einstein’s book, Ideas and Opinions),” she continues while explaining her excitement that Dr. Weiss agreed to present his lecture. “Thanks to Dr. Weiss and his colleagues, the universe has become significantly more comprehensible.”

Admission to this virtual lecture is free, but attendees must make reservations at weisstalk.eventbrite.com.

Discover more about LIGO and gravitational waves at ligo.caltech.edu.

For more information about the Hamptons Observatory, visit hamptonsobservatory.org.

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