Krauss, Wilczek honored with first prize from Gravity Research Foundation
Arizona State University professors Lawrence Krauss and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek have been named first place winners of the 2014 Awards for Essays from the Gravity Research Foundation, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts.
The Gravity Research Foundation (GRF) conducts an annual contest that honors short essays on research into the nature of gravity. The Krauss-Wilczek paper is titled “From B-modes to quantum gravity and unification of forces,” and describes how the recent claimed discovery of gravitational waves from the early universe can provide definitive evidence that gravity must be understood as a quantum theory.
GRF Awards for Essays on Gravitation is a prestigious annual competition, inaugurated in 1949, for short papers describing the authors' original research in the fields of general relativity and quantum gravity. Now in its 65th year, the prize has become highly regarded by physicists worldwide.
Previous winners of the prize include Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureate George Smoot, as well as Bryce DeWitt and many other famous physicists from around the world.
“This is a delightful surprise,” Krauss said. “This is actually the second time I have been awarded first prize. The first time was precisely 30 years ago when I was a researcher at Harvard, so this repeat performance comes at a special time,” said Krauss who also has won awards for second, fourth and fifth prizes in the past.
“The work that Frank and I wrote about this year is something that I think has ultimately profound consequences for our understanding of gravity, so I am very pleased it was recognized that way by the GRF,” Krauss added.
Krauss and Wilczek have increasingly collaborated over the years. In the past year, they have worked on the idea of how to use the universe to search for the effects of gravitons. In that paper, they suggest that measuring minute changes in the cosmic background radiation of the universe could be a pathway of detecting the telltale effects of gravitons, the highly sought after elementary particle of gravity. This research is reported on in their GRF essay.
Krauss is a Foundation Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Scieces at ASU and the director of the Origins Project, which explores key questions about our origins, who we are and where we came from, and then holds open forums to encourage public participation.
Wilczek is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist with MIT. He holds a part-time position at ASU.