Barry Clark Barish is an American experimental physicist and Nobel Laureate. He is a Linde Professor of Physics, emeritus at California Institute of Technology. He is a leading expert on gravitational waves.
Barish was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the Son of Lee and Harold Barish. His parents' families were Jewish immigrants from a part of Poland that is now in Belarus. Just after World War II, the family moved to Los Feliz in Los Angeles. He attended John Marshall High School and other Schools.
He earned his B.A. in physics (1957) and his Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics (1962) at the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Caltech in 1963 as part of a new experimental effort in particle physics using frontier particle accelerators at the national laboratories.
First Barish's experiments were performed at Fermilab using high-energy neutrino collisions to reveal the quark substructure of the nucleon. These experiments Were among the first to observe the weak neutral current, a linchpin of the Electroweak Unification Theories Of Glashow, Salam, and Weinberg.
Barish became the Principal investigator of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in 1994 and director in 1997. He led the effort through the approval of Funding by the NSF National Science Board in 1994, the construction and commissioning of the LIGO interferometers in Livingston, LA and Hanford, WA in 1997. He created the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which now numbers more than 1000 collaborators worldwide to carry out the science.
In 2017, Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics Along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne "for decisive Contributions to the LIGO Detector And The Observation of Gravitational Waves"