Alessandra Buonanno and Thibault Damour

Italy/USA and France

2021 Balzan Prize for Gravitation: Physical and Astrophysical Aspects

For their leadership in the prediction of the gravitational-wave signals produced when compact objects like neutron stars and black holes spiral together and eventually merge. Their work was instrumental in the detection of gravitational waves, providing an extremely accurate confirmation of general relativity as the theory of gravitation, and allowing the LIGO and Virgo detectors to promote a type of astronomy which uses gravitational waves as new, powerful messengers of the universe.

Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno
Director at Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
Head of the division Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity

Prof. Thibault Damour
Permanent professor since 1989 of Theoretical Physics at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Bures-sur-Yvette