Artist's Conception of Gravitational Waves GWIC: Gravitational Wave International Committee


GWIC Thesis Prize And Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize

2016 Thesis Prize winners announced

GWIC is pleased to announce that the selection committee for the GWIC Thesis Prize and the Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize has reached a decision. This year, there was a total of 9 theses nominated, from 5 different countries.

This is the fourth year that a single committee selects the winners of the two thesis prizes. The selection committee was instructed to select the two best theses based 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 in the thesis. To distinguish between the two prizes, the GWIC Thesis Prize emphasizes the impact on the field of gravitational waves, and the Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize emphasizes the novelty and innovation of the research.

GWIC Thesis Prize

The 2016 GWIC Thesis Prize is awarded to Eric Oelker for his thesis “Squeezed States for Advanced Gravitational Wave Detectors”. Dr. Oelker received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was nominated by his adviser, Prof. Nergis Mavalvala. His thesis describes a beautiful experiment demonstrating frequency-dependent squeezed states suitable for Advanced LIGO. This is a key element in all the designs for detectors with sensitivity beyond the second generation baselines.

Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize

The 2016 Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize is awarded to Davide Gerosa for his thesis “Source modelling at the dawn of gravitational-wave astronomy”. Dr. Gerosa received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and was nominated by his adviser, Prof. Ulrich Sperhake. Dr. Gerosa's thesis includes a wide variety of topics relevant to gravitational waves, as well as other topics in astrophysics: astrophysical explorations of accretion disks, analytically challenging work in mathematical relativity and post-Newtonian theory, and numerical relativity coding of supernova core-collapse in relativity and modified gravity.

Prize theses and honorable mentions from this and past years are available at:

2016 GWIC and Braccini Prizes
2015 GWIC and Braccini Prizes
2014 GWIC and Braccini Prizes
2013 GWIC and Braccini Prizes
2012 GWIC Prize Braccini Prize
2011 GWIC Prize Braccini Prize
2010 GWIC Prize
2009 GWIC Prize
2008 GWIC Prize
2007 GWIC Prize
2006 GWIC Prize
2003-5 LIGO Prize

Eligibility and Nominations

Both awards are made on a calendar year basis. A common Call for Nominations will issued approximately November 1 each year with instructions about how to submit a nomination. Theses must have been accepted by their institutions between January 1 and December 31 of the year for which they are nominated to qualify for consideration. It is expected that many of the nominations will come from the member projects of GWIC, but this is not a requirement.

All theses will be considered for both awards. To make a distinction between the two prizes, the GWIC Thesis Prize will emphasize the impact on the field of gravitational waves, and the Stefano Braccini Prize will emphasize the novelty and innovation of the research.

A committee representing the international gravitational wave community evaluates the nominations and selects the winner. Nominated theses may be in any language -- the selection committee will use consultants to help evaluate theses if they do not possess the required linguistic breadth. The selection committee makes the final determinations about eligibility.

The two Prizes are awarded alternately at the Amaldi Conferences on Gravitational Waves (in odd numbered years) and another appropriate conference (in even numbered years).

The recipients receives a certificate of recognition and a prize of $1,000 each.

About the GWIC Thesis Prize:

The Gravitational Wave International Committee (GWIC) recognizes that encouraging talented younger scientists is important to its goal of promoting gravitational wave research. To this end, GWIC has established an annual prize for an outstanding Ph.D. thesis based on research in gravitational waves.

Each year, members of the international gravitational wave community are invited to nominate students who have performed notable research on any aspect of gravitational waves science. Theses are 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 in the thesis.

The gravitational wave 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.

About the Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize:

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.


Agreement between GWIC and Springer

Springer Theses is a book series in which exceptional Ph.D. theses in the physical sciences are published in their entirety. A strictly limited number of theses are accepted into the series, based on the recommendations of supervisors from the world's top universities and research institutes. Since 2011, GWIC has been invited to nominate its Thesis Prize winner each year for this series. Beginning with the 2013 award, the winner of the Stefano Braccini Prize will also be nominated for publication in the Springer Theses series.

Past winners whose theses have been published by Springer include:

2012 Paul Fulda
2011 Rutger van Haasteren
2010 Haixing Miao

More information about the Springer Theses series can be found here.