Barry Clark Barish

Barry Barish


Barry Clark Barish was awarded the Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award for his leadership in the construction and initial operations of LIGO, the creation of the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and for the successful conversion of LIGO from small science executed by a few research groups into big science that involved large collaborations and major infrastructures, which eventually enabled gravitational-wave detection.

Barry Clark Barish was the leader of the large experimental effort that built LIGO and made it sensitive enough to detect gravitational waves. Initial LIGO used mostly demonstrated technologies, to assure technical success, especially considering the huge extrapolation from prototype interferometers. After completing Initial LIGO construction in around 2000, under leadership of Barish, the LIGO team carried out an ambitious R&D program for Advanced LIGO, with the goal of improving sensitivity by at least a factor of ten over the entire sensitive frequency range, ultimately reaching the expected sensitivities for detections. LIGO undertook this major upgrade starting from 2008, and made the first discovery in 2015.

Barish is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society which he chaired in 2011. He has received the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences and the Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize of the European Physical Society. He is one of three winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics (2017).