Nobel Prize Awards

Once a 'refugee from physics,' late UM scientist Joseph Weber now recognized as inspiration of hunt for gravitational waves

Once a 'refugee from physics,' late UM scientist Joseph Weber now recognized as inspiration of hunt for gravitational waves

For decades physicist Joseph Weber worked in a lab at the edge of the University of Maryland golf course, laboring as what one former colleague called a “refugee from physics.”

Weber, who died in 2000, was spurned by the scientific community for clinging to his conviction that he had spotted evidence of the ripples in space-time produced when two dead stars or black holes collide.

Now, nearly 50 years after Weber published his claim, scientists are confident they have in fact detected those ripples — known as gravitational waves — using a giant laser system called LIGO. The work earned three of those scientists the Nobel Prize in physics this month.

And Monday,...

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