VU researcher contributes to Nobel Prize in Physics

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, the scientists who discovered gravitational waves. Jo van den Brand, Full Professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, provided a valuable contribution to this discovery: “I am very pleased and proud that the research on gravity waves is awarded with the Nobel Prize this year”.

10/03/2017 | 11:38 AM

Van den Brand emphasizes the importance of the detection of gravitational waves for science: “100 Years ago, Albert Einstein was the first to claim that gravitational waves exist, as vibrations in space-time. Now, for the first time, we were able to witness this phenomenon ourselves.” Recently, a fourth double black hole was detected. The vibrations were detected using two LIGO gravitational-wave detectors in the United States, in cooperation with the Virgo detector in Italy.

Jo van den Brand
VU Amsterdam Full Professor Jo van den Brand is the spokesperson for Virgo, a collaboration between 280 physicists and technologists from over 20 European research groups. Over the past few years he has successfully run the gravitational-waves group at Nikhef, which culminated in the announcement of the first-ever detection of gravitational waves on 11 February 2016. Since 1995, Van den Brand has conducted research into the universe as Full Professor and manager of the Department of Subatomic Physics at VU Amsterdam.

Life’s work
VU Amsterdam’s Rector Magnificus, Vinod Subramanian, congratulated Van den Brand on his close involvement in this important discovery: “I am extremely proud of Jo van den Brand and the role that Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has been able to play in his life’s work leading up to a Nobel Prize-winning discovery.
This work is also a wonderful example of why we should continue to invest in fundamental research. The discovery of gravitational waves provides important insights into the genesis of our universe, making this a hugely significant discovery both for science and society.”