Walter Massey, chancellor of SAIC, recently explained to UChicagoNews the hurdles and uncertainty in funding the first Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). In 1991, as director of the National Science Foundation, Massey fought to secure funding for the observatory from the foundation's science board but the project was ultimately too expensive and risky at the time. Fortunately, Massey and his colleagues were able to secure funding from Congress and LIGO was built. In October 2017, LIGO recorded gravitational waves formed by two colliding black holes and won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. In gratitude for his role in LIGO, Massey attended the ceremony for the Nobel Prize as the guest of Nobel laureate Kip Thorne.
“It’s been a gratifying couple of years for me, to see something from so far in my past to come about and bear such tremendous fruit,” he told UChicagoNews. “It’s wonderful to have been a part of it.”