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Walter Massey to Meet Kip Thorne at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting

October 28, 2020

Walter E. Massey

Walter E. Massey will accept the Sigma Xi Gold Key Award on November 6, 2020 at the Sigma Xi Virtual Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference. Massey will give remarks on his professional journey, social justice, and diversity in STEM. 

Following the ceremony, NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca will conduct a virtual interview and moderate a question and answer session with both Massey and Nobel Laureate Kip S. Thorne.

The conversation will cover different topics, including Massey’s instrumental role in securing funding for developing the advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) during his tenure as the ninth director of the National Science Foundation. Thorne was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Barry C. Barish for “decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves". 

The session will be held virtually on November 7, 2020 during the Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference. The conference will showcase emerging trends and developments across a broad spectrum of science and art collaborations. To register for the Sigma Xi the Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference, please visit

About the Gold Key award

The Gold Key Award is the highest honor bestowed by Sigma Xi. It is presented to a member who has made extraordinary contributions to his or her profession and has fostered critical innovations to enhance the health of the research enterprise, to cultivate integrity in research, or to promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. The recipient is selected by the Executive Committee and the Sigma Xi Board of Directors. The recipient receives a Sigma Xi key and is invited to present a lecture at the Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference.