LOS FELIZ — As a teenager at Marshall High Barry C. Barish loved tennis and dreamed of one day becoming a sports star. But a coach encouraged him to succeed in academics. Good thing he took the coach’s advice. This week, Barish, who graduated from Marshall in 1954, was named as one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.
Barish shares the Nobel honors with Kip S. Thorne, his colleague at the California Institute of Technology, and Rainer Weiss, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The honor recognizes their development of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
“Tennis was my passion in high school, and we had a great team,” said Barish in a statement provided by L.A. Unified. “As a teenage boy, I wanted to be a great sports star more than a scientist, but I had a coach who believed in me and encouraged me to excel in school.”
Barish also attended Micheltorena Elementary in Silver Lake and Thomas Starr King Junior High, according L.A. Unified, which was quick to tout is Nobel-winning alumnus.
“Dr. Barish is another shining example of an L.A. Unified student who worked hard throughout his entire school career and graduated fully motivated and prepared to change the world for the better,” said Superintendent Michelle King.
Barish, 81, was born in Omaha, Nebraska. After World War II, his family moved to Los Angeles, where they lived in the Los Feliz area. Barish, in an oral history conducted in 1998, said this of his L.A. school years:“Schools then didn’t just move the kids along. They failed kids; kids didn’t [automatically] get advanced. So I graduated from elementary school in Los Angeles with kids who entered the navy the next year. It was kind of peculiar: a mix of kids that was a little strange—very grown-up, tough kids.”
After graduating from Marshall, Barish went to UC Berkeley and began working at Caltech in 1963.
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