Thesis Prize

GWIC awards a yearly prize recognizing an outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the field of gravitational waves, the GWIC-Braccini Thesis Prize.

GWIC-Braccini Thesis Prize

The Gravitational Wave International Committee is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Friends of Stefano Braccini to award a single yearly prize recognizing an outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the field of gravitational waves, the GWIC-Braccini Thesis Prize. Nominations for the 2019 GWIC-Braccini Thesis Prizes are now open.

Members of the gravitational wave community are invited to nominate students who have performed notable research on any aspect of gravitational wave science. Theses will be judged on 1) originality and creativity of the research, 2) importance to the field of gravitational waves and gravitational wave detection, broadly interpreted, and 3) clarity of presentation. Each winner will receive a certificate of recognition and a prize of US$ 1,000.

The GWIC Thesis Prize was started initially by LIGO as a biannual prize, limited to students of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. The first LIGO award covered the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2005. In 2006, the thesis prize was adopted by GWIC, renamed, converted to an annual prize, and opened to the broader community. The 2006 GWIC Prize included theses accepted between 1 July 2005 and 31 December 2006, to ensure that there was not a gap when GWIC changed to a calendar year cadence.

Stefano Braccini
Stefano Braccini

The Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize was established to honor the memory of a talented gravitational wave physicist whose promising career was cut short. Stefano worked with the Virgo project, and contributed to the superattentuator design, to the integration and commissioning of Virgo and to its data analysis efforts. He was a well liked and respected member of the international community.

The Braccini Prize was initiated by an informal group of his friends in 2011 with the support of the Associazione Ricerca Fondamentale in Fisica and the European Gravitational Observatory (Cascina, Pisa, Italy). In 2013, it was also adopted by GWIC, to be coordinated with the GWIC Thesis Prize on an equal basis.

In 2017, GWIC entered into an agreement with the Friends of Stefano Braccini to award a single yearly prize recognizing an outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the field of gravitational waves, the GWIC-Braccini Thesis Prize.

Eligibility and Nominations

Eligibility: Prizes will be awarded on a calendar year basis for 2019. Theses should have been accepted by their institutions between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019. It is expected that many of the nominations will come from the member projects of GWIC, but this is not a requirement. Nominated theses may be in any language. A committee selected from the gravitational we community will evaluate the nominations and select the winner. The selection committee will make all determinations about eligibility, and aims to award the 2019 prize at the LISA Symposium in July 2020 in Glasgow, UK.

Nominations: Nominations should be submitted by 31st January 2020. The nomination package consists of (i) the thesis, (ii) a letter of nomination, preferably from the thesis advisor, and (iii) a supporting letter from another scientist familiar with the work. The nomination and supporting letters should describe the importance and novelty of the research and the student's particular contribution. Please indicate clearly which year each nomination pertains to.

Electronic submission of the thesis and letters is strongly preferred, with the thesis and the letters in separate pdf files. Electronic copies of the nomination materials may be sent to Martin Hewitson. All submissions will be acknowledged; if an acknowledgement is not received shortly after the deadline, please contact Martin Hewitson. Please also provide a contact email address, and current institution for the nominee in the nomination letter.

If electronic submission is impossible, please contact Martin Hewitson for instructions concerning paper submission, or for any other concerns or queries.

Past Prizes

Nancy Aggarwal (MIT)
"A Room Temperature Optomechanical Squeezer"

Honorable Mention:

Jonathan D. Cripe (Louisiana State University)
"Broadband Measurement and Reduction of Quantum Radiation Pressure Noise in the Audio Band"

Honorable Mention:

Hector Okada da Silva (University of Mississippi)
"Compact Objects in Relativistic Theories of Gravity"

Honorable Mention:

Eric Oelker (MIT), winner of the 2016 GWIC Thesis Prize
"Squeezed States for Advanced Gravitational Wave Detectors"

Davide Gerosa (University of Cambridge), winner of the 2016 Braccini Thesis Prize
"Source modelling at the dawn of gravitational-wave astronomy"

Honorable Mention:

Denis Martynov (Caltech), winner of the 2015 GWIC Thesis Prize
"Lock Acquisition and Sensitivity Analysis of Advanced LIGO Interferometers"

Vikram Ravi (University of Melbourne), winner of the 2015 Braccini Thesis Prize
"Evincing the histories of the cosmic supermassive black hole and galaxy populations with gravitational waves"

Honorable Mention:

Leo Singer (Caltech), winner of the 2014 GWIC Thesis Prize
"The needle in the 100 deg2 haystack: The hunt for binary neutron star mergers with LIGO and Palomar Transient Factory"

Yan Wang (Leibniz University of Hannover), winner of the 2014 Braccini Thesis Prize
"On inter-satellite laser ranging, clock synchronization and gravitational wave data analysis"

Honorable Mention:

Sheon Chua (ANU), winner of the 2013 GWIC Thesis Prize
"Quantum Enhancement of a 4km Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Detector"

Tjonnie Li (Vrije University Amsterdam), winner of the 2013 Braccini Thesis Prize
"Extracting Physics from Gravitational Waves: Testing the Strong-field Dynamics of General Relativity and Inferring the Large-scale Structure of the Universe"

Honorable Mention:

Paul Fulda (University of Birmingham), winner of the 2012 GWIC Thesis Prize
Precision Interferometry in a New Shape: Higher-order Laguerre-Gauss Modes for Gravitational Wave Detection

Kiwamu Izumi (University of Tokyo), co-winner of the 2012 Braccini Thesis Prize
Multi-Color Interferometry for Lock Acquisition of Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Detectors

Vivien Raymond (Northwestern University), co-winner of the 2012 Braccini Thesis Prize
Parameter Estimation Using Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods for Gravitational Waves from Spinning Inspirals of Compact Objects

Honorable Mention:

Rutger van Haasteren (University of Leiden), winner of the 2011 GWIC Thesis Prize
Gravitational Wave detection and data analysis for Pulsar Timing Arrays

Aleksandr Khalaidovski (Albert Einstein Institute and Leibniz University of Hannover), winner of the 2011 Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize
Beyond the Quantum Limit--A Squeezed-Light Laser in GEO600

Honorable Mention:

Haixing Miao (University of Western Australia), winner of the 2010 GWIC Thesis Prize
Exploring Macroscopic Quantum Mechanics in Optomechanical Devices

Honorable Mention:

Holger Pletsch (Albert Einstein Institute and Leibniz University of Hannover), winner of the 2009 GWIC Thesis Prize
Data Analysis for Continuous Gravitational Waves: Deepest All-Sky Surveys

Honorable Mention:

Yoichi Aso (University of Tokyo)
Active Vibration Isolation for a Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detector using a Suspension Point Interferometer

Note, the gravitational wave thesis prize was started initially by LIGO as a biannual prize, limited to students of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. In 2006, the thesis prize was adopted by GWIC, renamed, converted to an annual prize, and opened to the broader community. In this transition year, theses completed between 1 July 2005 and 31 December 2006 were eligible for the 2006 Prize.

Honorable Mention:

Rana Adhikari (MIT)
Sensitivity and Noise Analysis of 4 km Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Antennae

Note, the gravitational wave thesis prize was started initially by LIGO as a biannual prize, limited to students of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. The first award covered the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2005. In 2006, the thesis prize was adopted by GWIC, renamed, converted to an annual prize, and opened to the broader community.