David Reitze, Professor of Physics at the University of Florida, wins 2017 National Academy of Science Award for Scientific Discovery

January 2017


Professor David Reitze, one of this year’s winners of the National Academy of Science Award for Scientific Discovery, is honored for his role as spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a position he held from 2007 to 2011. During this time, Reitze prepared the LSC for the upcoming era of Advanced LIGO which ultimately led to the discovery of the first gravitational waves in September 2015. Reitze, a member of the Florida Physics faculty since 1993, began LIGO research in 1996 and, in collaboration with colleague David Tanner, led the design, construction, and installation of the Input Optics subsystem for Initial LIGO which concluded in 2002. In 2003 Professor Guido Mueller joined the group as work began on the design and construction of the Input Optics for Advanced LIGO. In parallel to this very important and successful work, as spokesperson and as the director of the LIGO laboratory, Reitze also prepared the LSC for its role in Advanced LIGO, including activities such as commissioning, detector characterization, and data analysis. During his tenure, the LSC grew from around 500 scientists to more than 1200 scientists; it is now one of the major scientific collaborations in the world.


In 2011, David Reitze was appointed the executive director of LIGO to oversee the construction, installation and commissioning phase of Advanced LIGO. Since then, he has been on leave from the University of Florida and stationed at the California Institute of Technology. For more information on this award visit National Academy of Sciences.


Congratulations to all on this well-deserved honor.