Luca Matone

Luca Matone is an educator, physicist, and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration – a group of more than 1000 scientists worldwide who have joined together in the search for gravitational waves.

On February 11, 2016, the LIGO collaboration, in partnership with its European counterpart Virgo, announced their success in making the first direct gravitational wave observation on September 14, 2015. This observation consisted of a gravitational-wave signal produced by a cataclysmic event involving the merger of a pair of black holes more than a billion light-years away.

Dr. Matone is among the recipients of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the 2016 Gruber Cosmology prize. LIGO founders Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish were awarded the 2017 Nobel prize.

Dr. Matone first began working on gravitational wave research as a student. He earned his master's degree in physics at the University of Rome 'Tor Vergata' and then continued his physics studies in France, both with the Virgo collaboration, earning his physics PhD at the Universitè de Paris XI. This eventually led him to the California Institute of Technology where he joined the LIGO commissioning team. He currently holds a research position at Columbia University, he has taught at Fordham University and teaches at the prestigious Regis High School in New York City. Asteroid 30119 lucamatone was named in recognition of mentoring a finalist in the 2014 Intel competition.

He is a science advocate, a passionate public speaker, and the co-author of more than 100 scientific publications. The 2016 discovery paper is ranked the 3rd most discussed paper of 2016 and it is Science magazine’s and Physics World magazine’s 2016 Breakthrough of the Year.

The recent discovery of two neutron stars colliding yielded a treasure trove of information and it is now Science magazine’s and Physics World magazine’s 2017 Breakthrough of the Year.