The selection committee awards the prize to the founders of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and to 1012 contributors of the discovery. This international researcher association involves, besides many other institutions, the Albert-Einstein-Institut (AEI) Hannover. Among the laureates are also several scientists from the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH).
For more than ten years, the AEI and the LZH have been working on the development of the gravitational wave detectors LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory). The lasers in the LIGO detectors were jointly constructed and integrated into the US observatories as a ready-to-run-system by the LZH, AEI and neoLASE, an LZH spin-off company.