The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, in Livingston Parish detected the gravitational waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away.

LSU scientists were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for the first detection of gravitational waves, which confirmed a prediction in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, in Livingston Parish detected the gravitational waves from two black holes colliding over a billion light years away. The waves were detected by twin LIGO detectors, one in Livingston, La. and the other in Hanford, Wash., on September 14, 2015 at 4:51 a.m.

LSU adjunct professor and MIT professor Emeritus Rainer Weiss and California professor Emeritus Kip Thorne are co-founders of the collaboration. Weiss won half of the prize, and the other half went to the California Institute of Technology professors involved.

The LIGO Livingston observatory is located on LSU property, where faculty, students, and research staff work as major contributors to the international LIGO Science Collaboration. LSU's investment in gravitational-wave detection spans more than four decades, making it one of the longest contributing institutions to the discovery.

"As scientists we are in constant pursuit of more knowledge and understanding of our place in the universe," said Cynthia Peterson, dean of the LSU College of Science, "This discovery, 100 years in the making, is a leap forward in this pursuit."

Winning the Nobel Prize for gravitational-wave detection demonstrates the importance of the research done at LIGO institutions. It's also a great recognition of LSU faculty, students, and alumni who contributed to the research. The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the third year LSU scientists have been among the teams involved with the award.

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