Menu ☰

Back to Top

Physics History Network

Over 1000 biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research.

Tip: Search within this page by using Ctrl + F or ⌘ + F


Search Our Catalogs

Archives Books

Collections

Emilio Segré Visual Archives Digital Collections Oral Histories Archival Finding Aids Physics History Network

Preservation and Support

Donating Materials Saving Archival Collections Grants to Archives Documentation Projects History Newsletters

Center for History of Physics

Scholarship & Outreach

Main Navigation

HomeAboutTopic GuidesFeedback

Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as Author

Rainer Weiss

Photo

Dates

September 29, 1932 – present

Authorized Form of Name

Weiss, Rainer

Biography

Abstract

Rainer Weiss was Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1973-2001). Other institutional affiliations include Tufts University, Princeton University, Louisiana State University, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). His research interests include experimental atomic physics, atomic clocks, laser physics, experimental gravitation, millimeter and sub-millimeter astronomy, and cosmic background measurements.

Important Dates

September 29, 1932Birth, Berlin (Germany).

1955Obtained BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge (Mass.).

1960 – 1962Instructor in Physics (1960-1961) and Assistant Professor of Physics (1961-1962), Tufts University.

1962Obtained PhD in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge (Mass.).

1962 – 1964Research Associate in Physics, Princeton University.

1964 – presentAssistant Professor of Physics (1964-1967); Associate Professor of Physics (1967-1973); Professor of Physics (1973-2001); and Professor of Physics, Emeritus (2001-present), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge (Mass.).

1970 – 1986Member, Physical Science Committee (1970-1974); Member, Management Operations Working Group for Shuttle Astronomy (1973-1976); Member, Management Operations Working Group for Airborne Astronomy (1973-1986); Chair, Panel of Experimental Relativity and Gravitation (1974-1976); and Member, Sun Solar System Connection Committee (1979-1982), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1971 – 1978Member, Scientific Balooning Advisory Panel, National Center for Atmospheric Research.

1978Chair, Subcommittee on Gravitational Physics, National Science Foundation.

1983 – 1986Member, Space Science Board, National Academy of Sciences.

1997 – 2003Spokesperson, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration.

1999 – 2000Chair, Topical Group on Gravitation, American Physical Society.

1999 – 2000Member, Panel on Particle and Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey, National Research Council.

2000Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2001 – presentAdjunct Professor of Physics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge (La.).

2004 – 2005Chair, LISA Gravitational Wave Visiting Committee, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

2004 – 2005Chair, DOE-NASA-NSF Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Task Force.

2007Awarded Einstein Prize, American Physical Society.

Occupation

Astrophysicist.

Places

Birth

Berlin (Germany)

Undergraduate Education

Cambridge (Mass.)

Graduate Education

Cambridge (Mass.)

Employment

Cambridge (Mass.)

Baton Rouge (La.)

Subjects

Astrophysics.

Atomic clocks.

Gravitational waves.

Lasers.

Relationships

People

Advisors & Collaborators

King, John, 1925-2014

PhD advisor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Zacharias, Jerrold Reinach, 1905-1986

PhD advisor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), "Stark effect and hyperfine structure of hydrogen fluoride," and both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Colleagues

Al'tshuler, B. L.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Bargmann, V. (Valentine), 1908-1989

Both employed at Princeton University.

Benedek, George Bernard, 1928-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Bertsch, George F.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Birgeneau, Robert J. (Robert Joseph), 1942-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Bitter, Francis, 1902-1967

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Bleakney, Walker, 1901-1992

Both employed at Princeton University.

Brown, G. E. (Gerald Edward), 1926-

Both employed at Princeton University.

Callan, Curtis G.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Callen, Herbert B.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Coppi, B.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Cronin, James W., 1931-2016

Both employed at Princeton University.

Davidson, Ronald C.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Deutsch, Martin, 1917-2002

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)

Both employed at Princeton University.

Dresselhaus, M. S.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Enge, Harald A.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Feshbach, Herman

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Fitch, Val L., 1923-2015

Both employed at Princeton University.

Freedman, Daniel Z.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Friedman, Jerome I. (Jerome Isaac), 1930-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Glimm, James

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Goldberger, Marvin L.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Goldstone, Jeff Alan

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Guth, Alan H.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Haroche, S.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Hartle, J. B. (James B.)

Both employed at Princeton University.

Hopfield, John J.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Jackiw, Roman W.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Javan, Ali, 1926-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Joannopoulos, J. D. (John D.), 1947-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Kaspi, Victoria Michelle, 1967-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Kastner, Marc A.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Kendall, Henry W. (Henry Way), 1926-1999

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ketterle, Wolfgang

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Keyes, Frederick G. (Frederick George), 1885-1976

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Kleppner, Daniel

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Kraushaar, William L.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Lax, Benjamin

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Lee, P. A. (Patrick A.), 1946-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Lieb, Elliott H.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Livingston, M. Stanley (Milton Stanley)

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Low, Francis E. (Francis Eugene), 1921-2007

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Misner, Charles W.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Morrison, Philip

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Morse, Philip M. (Philip McCord), 1903-1985

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Page, Lyman A.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Phillips, William D. (William Daniel), 1948-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Pollock, Robert Elwood, 1936-

Both employed at Princeton University.

Porkolab, Miklos

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Randall, Lisa

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Read, Nicholas

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Rossi, Bruno, 1905-1993

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Shenstone, A. G. (Allen Goodrich)

Both employed at Princeton University.

Shull, Clifford Glenwood

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Slater, John C. (John Clarke), 1900-1976

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Smyth, Henry De Wolf, 1898-1986

Both employed at Princeton University.

Stanley, H. Eugene (Harry Eugene), 1941-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Stratton, Julius Adams, 1901-1994

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ting, S. C. C. (Samuel Chao-chung), 1936-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Townes, Charles H.

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Treiman, Sam B.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Weinberg, Steven, 1933-

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Weisskopf, Victor Frederick, 1908-2002

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008

Both employed at Princeton University.

Wiesner, Jerome B. (Jerome Bert), 1915-1994

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Wightman, A. S. (Arthur Strong), 1922-2013

Both employed at Princeton University.

Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995

Both employed at Princeton University.

Wilczek, Frank

Both employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Wilkinson, David T.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Additional

Thorne, Kip S.

Institutions

Major Positions

Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.). Department of Physics and Astronomy

Adjunct Professor of Physics.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics

Obtained BS (1955) and PhD (1962). Assistant Professor of Physics; Associate Professor of Physics; Professor of Phyics; and Professor of Physics, Emeritus.

Princeton University. Department of Physics

Research Associate in Physics.

Tufts University. Department of Physics and Astronomy

Instructor in Physics and Assistant Professor of Physics.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Physical Society

Chair, Topical Group on Gravitation and received 2007 Einstein Prize.

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory

Spokesperson.

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member and Member, Space Science Board.

National Center for Atmospheric Research (U.S.)

Member, Scientific Ballooning Advisory Panel.

National Research Council (U.S.)

Member, Panel on Particle and Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey.

National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Chair, Subcommittee on Gravitational Physics.

United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Member, Physical Science Committee; Member, Management Operations Working Group for Shuttle Astronomy; Member, Management Operations Working Group for Airborne Astronomy; Chair, Panel on Experimental Relativity and Gravitation; Member, Sun Solar System Connection Committee; and Chair, LISA Gravitational Wave Visiting Committee, Goddard Space Flight Center.

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Oral history interview with Rainer Weiss, 2000 May 10.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Rainer Weiss papers, undated.

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA