News Release • January 2, 2018
The University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy has received a bequest of £500,000 from the estate of Professor Ronald Drever to fund a scholarship in his name. Professor Drever, who passed away in March 2017, played key roles in establishing gravitational wave research at the University of GlasgoSearch LIGO Lab before moving to the United States in the 1980s to co-found LIGO. His work helped lay some of the foundations for the LIGO collaboration’s historic first detection of gravitational waves in September 2015, a century after their existence was proposed by Albert Einstein.
Researchers from Glasgow University’s Institute for Gravitational Research recently made major contributions to the first and subsequent detections, designing and building the mirror suspensions at the heart of the detector and undertaking leadership roles in the massive data analysis efforts which underpin each detection. Professor Drever’s partners in the early days of LIGO, Professor Kip Thorne and Professor Rainier Weiss, received this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on gravitational waves and the LIGO/VIRGO collaboration, along with Professor Barry Barish, who helped bring the project to completion.
The University of Glasgow anticipates that the new Professor Ronald Drever Scholarship in Physics and Astronomy will fund one postgraduate position at the University’s Institute for Gravitational Research each year in perpetuity.
Professor Martin Hendry, head of the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We’re honored and grateful that Professor Drever chose to donate such a substantial sum to the University of Glasgow, where he began his career and made his initial contributions to the field of gravitational wave research.
“In the three decades since Professor Drever left the University, we’ve made huge steps forward at the Institute for Gravitational Research and as part of the LIGO and Virgo collaborations. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with the assistance of postgraduate students so generously funded by the Drever family.”
Drever’s family provided this statement:
“The family are delighted that Ronald’s life work was demonstrated during his lifetime, and his legacy will provide the opportunity to further this ground breaking research over the years to come. Ronald received bursaries at crucial points in his early studies, and it is brilliant that the historical investment in Ronald can be perpetuated, supporting future physicists in this field.”