Nobel Prize in Physics will offer a conference at the UPR in Humacao

Barry Barish, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017, it will offer tomorrow, Friday, a virtual conference in the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Humacaothe institution reported in a press release.

The conference, entitled “From the first generation to Nobel Prize”, will be at 1:00 pm, through Facebook Live, on the account @UPRHComunica. It is sponsored by the PREM-UPRH and 1st Gen & PROUD-UPRH programs, both funded by the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, respectively.

“The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao (UPRH) stands out for its commitment to strengthening knowledge with the best. This time, we have the participation of Dr. Barry Barish, physicist noted for his contributions to the knowledge of gravitational waves, confirming Einstein’s theory of relativity”Stated the rector Aida I. Rodríguez Roig in the statement.

“Graduates and professors of the UPR contribute to the enrichment of the academic experiences of our students, and of the students from all over the country, so they are all invited,” he added.

After the lecture by Dr. Barish, the panel “Dialogue in Spanish: what are gravitational waves and their Nobel Prize about?” will be presented, made up of a group of professors and graduates of the UPR in Humacao. The panelists will be Andy López Oquendo, a doctoral student at the University of Northern Arizona; Mayra E. Lebrón Santos, Professor of Physical Sciences at the UPR Río Piedras Campus; and William Bruckman San Miguel, retired professor of Physics and Electronics at the UPR in Humacao.

Barish, a professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017, along with Drs. Rainer Weiss and Kip S. Thorne. The three physicists achieved the first observation of gravitational waves using the Observatory of Gravitational Waves by Laser Interferometry (LIGO, in English). The existence of these gravitational waves was predicted by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago and it was not until 2015 that LIGO, an instrument with high precision, was used to observe them.

For her part, the director of the PREM-UPRH Program, Idalia Ramos Colón, highlighted that tomorrow’s conference, Friday, is an opportunity for the faculty, teachers and students from all over the island to interact with a scientist of world caliber.

“Activities like these inspire and empower our student community to achieve great things and, at the same time, motivate first-generation students and poor communities to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), ”said Ramos Colón, who is a professor in the Department of Physics and Electronics .

The conference forms part of the national celebration of first generation students in colleges and universities, which takes place the second week of November of each year. In 2017, the Council for Opportunities in Education and the Center for First Generation Student Success in the United States inaugurated this event to celebrate the successes of students, teachers, students and professionals who are first generation.

Kevin Alicea Torres, Director of Education for the PREM-UPRH Program, highlighted, for his part, that, “as a first-generation scientist, I am very excited to receive a visit from a Nobel Prize winner, who was also the first in his family to get a Bachelor of Science ”.

“Being the first in the family to go to college comes with many challenges, but Dr. Barish is an example that we can achieve astronomical findings and even get a Nobel Prize. Currently, around 25% of the students in the baccalaureate programs are first generation ”, shared Alicea Torres, who is associate director of the 1st Gen & PROUD program and professor in the Department of Biology at UPRH.

Barish has a Ph.D. in High Energy Experimental Physics from the University of California at Berkeley and is currently Professor Emeritus at Caltech, where he has worked since 1963. He was the scientist and leader who led the LIGO project for detection and gravitational wave observation to its conclusion. In 2015, he reported the first observation of gravitational waves through his experiments using astronomical and high-energy tools that detected the joining of two black holes.

In the last 20 years, the UPR in Humacao has received the visit of three Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry, including Alan MacDiarmid (2000), Martin Chalfie (2019) and Jennifer Doudna (2020). Barish is the first Nobel Prize in Physics to visit the institution.

The conference is open to the whole community Puerto Rican. For more information or to coordinate the participation of schools, you can write to Also, they can register at this link.

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Nobel Prize in Physics will offer a conference at the UPR in Humacao