David Blair is a pioneer in gravitational wave detection, having developed detectors and technologies for gravitational wave detection for more than 40 years. Blair developed the first southern hemisphere gravitational wave detector NIOBE, and in association with it invented the first sapphire clock. He went on to develop the Gingin gravitational wave research facility in Western Australia where he led the creation of a large scale facility for developing advanced technologies for laser interferometer gravitational wave detectors, as well as an Einsteinian physics education centre – the Gravity Discovery Centre.
Blair is Director of the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre at UWA, and is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. He led a team that predicted instabilities in the new LIGO detectors and developed means for preventing them. This helped enable the historic first detection of gravitational waves announced in February 2016. He is a winner of the Boas medal, the ANZAAS Medal, the Eureka Prize, the Clunies Ross Medal and West Australian Scientist of the Year. This year the 1000 physicist team that discovered gravitational waves was awarded the $3m Breakthrough Prize as well as the Gruber Prize. This included Blair and 20 other members of his research centre.