Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, former president of the Institute of Physics (IOP), and Professor Roy Sambles, current president of the IOP, both offer their congratulations on the news that researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) have detected gravitational waves for the first time.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell said of the discovery: “This is a major step forward, a hugely significant result. It marks the beginning of another way of viewing the universe, one that will show us a lot that we have so far been unable to see. It is also giving us direct evidence for the existence of black holes.”

President of the IOP, Professor Roy Sambles, said that the news was outstanding: “The findings reward years of endeavour and showcase the incredible precision we can now achieve which allows this research into the cosmic origins of the universe.

“With researchers from all over the world involved with the Advanced LIGO project, they should be very proud of reaching this milestone, and realize how far they have brought us since Einstein penned his theory of general relativity 100 years ago.

“This discovery is testament to the tenacity of those involved, and highlights the value of what can be achieved when we bring together the brightest and best minds within science and engineering.

“It’s exhilarating to watch as a new field of cosmology opens before us, and I hope that this discovery paves the way for a fresh generation of physicists inspired by the work that has been done by the Advanced LIGO teams.”