Peter Beyersdorf

Outstanding Professor Award
San José
Physics and Astronomy

“Every few months, a new student walks in the door and wants to get started. The experiences that they bring to the table are always interesting.”

Physics and Astronomy Professor Peter Beyersdorf is a member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration, which tests Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In 2015, LIGO scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time, capturing the collision of two massive black holes that had occurred more than 1.4 million years ago.

Beyersdorf says that the discovery, which recorded the most energetic event in human history, inspires scientists to challenge the unknown. The recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Professor Award cultivates curiosity with his students about the way the universe works.

“Seeing students when they are at a pivotal point in their lives, you realize that you can make a huge difference in people’s lives,” he says.