More than 600 people filled 131 Hitchcock Hall to capacity last night to hear 2017 Nobel Laureate Rai Weiss from MIT present the 56th Annual Smith Lecture. Prof. Weiss’s talk entitled “Exploration of the Universe with Gravitational Waves” captured the interest of scientists and lay people alike as he explained the discovery of gravitational waves from having been theorized by Albert Einstein in 1918 until the present day research at LIGO and other detectors across the globe.
The Alpheus Smith Lecture, a free public lecture, is presented annually by the Department of Physics and is funded by an endowment from Robert Smith to honor his father. The lecture began in 1960 being held in a lecture hall in what is now Smith Laboratory and has grown to require the largest lecture space available on campus.
Professor Weiss spent Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday visiting with faculty in both physics and astronomy, lunched with some postdoctoral researchers and held court at an open forum for faculty and another for students Wednesday afternoon. Attendees at all of these events were thrilled with their interactions and Prof. Weiss himself remarked repeatedly on how much he enjoyed his time at Ohio State and how much he had learned during his visit.
The talk was videotaped and will be available for viewing on YouTube in the coming weeks.