Honorary Degree

Barry C. Barish 

Doctor of Science


Barry Clark Barish, Ph.D., is Ronald and Maxine Linde Professor Emeritus of Physics at the California Institute of Technology and a leading expert on cosmic gravitational waves. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his work in establishing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the first observations of gravitational waves.

Barish’s work at LIGO resulted in the first observation on Earth of these cosmic ripples on Sept. 14, 2015 — emanating from the collision of two black holes in the distant universe. In 1997, he established the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, an organization that unites more than 1,000 collaborators worldwide on a mission to detect gravitational waves, explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and develop gravitational-wave observations as a tool of astronomical discovery. From 2006 to 2013, Barish served as director of the Global Design Effort for the International Linear Collider.

Barish became Caltech’s Linde Professor of Physics in 1991 and Linde Professor Emeritus in 2005. He earned his B.A. degree in physics and his Ph.D. in experimental physics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1957 and 1962. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Barish is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society, the latter of which he served as president.

For his groundbreaking efforts in establishing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and for his far-seeing work in experimental physics that has forever changed humanity’s view of the universe, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa.