Rai Weiss, co-recipient of 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, began life with one ambition – “to make music easier to hear.” At 15, Rai built hi-fi’s of the first kind. After a fire in the Brooklyn Paramount, he claimed the theater’s undamaged speakers and carted them home on the subway to Manhattan. The immigrants in the neighborhood would gather in his living room and listen to the Philharmonic through those speakers.

Nearly 70 years later, Rai has been honored as a principal architect of the greatest recording device in human history: LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory). LIGO captured the first recorded sounds from space, the ringing of spacetime from the collision of two black holes over a billion years ago.

Our Director of Sciences, Janna Levin, who chronicled the discovery in her book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, hosts Rai Weiss in conversation about his life’s ambition, the precarious years of obscurity, the exultation of discovery, and the soundtrack to the universe.

Join us after the conversation for star gazing with the Amateur Astronomers Association of NY in our garden.

This project is supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.