"This is something completely new and different, opening up unseen worlds," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement on awarding the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize.
"A wealth of discoveries awaits those who succeed in capturing the waves and interpreting their message."
Physics is the second of this year's crop of Nobel Prizes and comes after Americans Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on Monday.
($1 = 8.1666 Swedish crowns)
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