Physicist Danzmann received the Körber Prize 2017 for his pioneering research on the direct detection of gravitational waves. Previously they were able to explore the universe only by means of electromagnetic waves – light, radio waves, X-rays or gamma rays. "Now gravity has practically sent us its own messengers, the gravitational waves," says Danzmann. "They mark the beginning of the era of gravitational wave astronomy, which promises groundbreaking new discoveries, as 99 percent of the universe is dark." These technologies, which Danzmann initially developed for basic research, are now widely used for practical purposes in many fields, for example in geodesy satellites and in data communication. With the funds of the Körber Prize, Danzmann intends, amongst other things, to further refine laser technology for earth-based detectors.
Karsten Danzmann is 62 years old, since 2002 Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hanover, where he is also Head of the Institute for Gravitational Physics at the Leibniz University. The Körber Prize was presented to him on 7 September 2017 in Hamburg City Hall.