Congratulations to Academy Members Rainer Weiss and Michael Young

Winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics and Physiology or Medicine recognized for their groundbreaking work.

Published October 16, 2017

Congratulations to Academy Members Rainer Weiss and Michael Young
Congratulations to Academy Members Rainer Weiss and Michael Young

Rainer Weiss

Congratulations to Academy Members Rainer Weiss and Michael Young

Michael W. Young

Did you know that more than 1 in 10 Nobel Laureates have also been Members of the New York Academy of Sciences? That tradition continues with the recent announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics and Physiology or Medicine.

Congratulations to longtime Academy Member Rainer Weiss of MIT on his Nobel Prize in Physics for “contributions to the LIGO detector and observation of gravitational waves.” His collaborative work at the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) helped lead to the first observation of the gravitational waves described by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity over a century ago. The detected waves were caused by a collision between two black holes, and took 1.3 billion years to reach the scientists and their detectors at LIGO. The confirmation of the existence of gravitational waves will potentially open up new ways of observing and understanding the universe.

Congratulations also to Michael W. Young of The Rockefeller University on receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for “discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” Using fruit flies, the researchers isolated a gene that regulates their daily biological rhythm and further explained the inner workings of their biological rhythm. Subsequently, the framework for the biological clock found in fruit flies was recognized as working on the same principles as the biological clock found in humans and all other organisms. These discoveries have serious implications for our understanding of our health and well-being.

A full list of the science innovators and Nobel Laureates who are current or past Members of the Academy can be found here.