Physicist wins prestigious award once given to Sir Stephen Hawking for ‘outstanding’ 30-year-old research on the expansion of the universe

A Cardiff University professor has been honoured for his ground-breaking research from 1986.

Professor Bernard Schutz, 72, is set to receive the prestigious Eddington Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society for his work.

The society has decided to honour the scholar for his ‘investigation of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics’.

Previous awardees include the most famed and influential scientist of the 20th-century – the late Sir Stephen Hawking.

The American physicist currently works for Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Schutz explained in his 1986 paper how gravitational waves could be used to measure the cosmic expansion rate.

He argued the waves from mergers of two neutron stars or black holes were ‘standard sirens’ which carried information about their distance to Earth.

His theory was realised 30 years later in 2017 when both gravitational and electromagnetic waves were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), whose creators won a Nobel Prize.

Professor Schutz will receive the award, named after English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington, who made the first empirical test of Einstein’s theory, at the National Astronomy Meeting at Lancaster University in July.

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