Barry C. Barish


Barry C. Barish

© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A.Mahmoud

Barry C. Barish
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017

Born: 27 January 1936, Omaha, NE, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration, ; California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”

Prize share: 1/4


Barry Barish was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents came from Jewish families in Poland. The family then moved to Los Angeles. Barish studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his doctor’s degree in 1962. The following year he moved to the California Institute of Technology, where he has worked since then. Barry Barish is married and has a daughter and a son.


One consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity is the existence of gravitational waves. These are like ripples in a four-dimensional spacetime that occur when objects with mass accelerate. The effects are very small. Beginning in the 1970s the LIGO detector was developed to record gravitational waves. Barry Barish had a leading role in the project from 1994 and made crucial contributions to the development of the detector. In 2015 gravitational waves were detected for the first time.

To cite this section
MLA style: Barry C. Barish – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Thu. 20 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.