Physicist conferred honorary doctorate by Universitat de València

Author: Imran Ghori
June 6, 2022

Barry Barish, a distinguished professor of physics at UC Riverside, has been conferred an honorary doctorate by the Universitat de València for his work in experimental physics and discovery of gravitational waves.

The recognition is the highest honor given by the university, which is one of the oldest in Spain and considered one of the country’s leading academic institutions.

Barry Barish receives an honorary doctorate at the Universitat de València in Spain on May 31. (Universitat de València )

Barish received the honor in an investiture ceremony on May 31 at the Universitate de València, attended by many of its faculty members and leadership.

The ceremony highlighted Barish’s contributions to physics and particularly the discovery of gravitational waves, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017.

Barish recounted during his speech how he developed an interest in science when he was younger and looked to Italian physicist Enrico Fermi as a role model. He described the discovery of gravitational waves as a window to view the universe in a new way.

“Being an American scientist honored here in Spain, validates the fact that ‘science has no border,’” he said. “We speak the same language of science whether we are in California, Spain or Russia. I only hope that we can do the same between the countries of the world.”

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Barish has received many other awards, including the Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award (China), Princess of Asturias Prize for Science and Technology (Spain), Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize from the European Physical Society, the Enrico Fermi Prize from the Italian Physical Society, and the Klopsteg Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Bologna, the University of Florida, and the University of Glasgow. He has been inducted as honorary academician into the Royal Academy of European Doctors, based in Spain, and as a member of the Royal Society.