Italian scientists were the driving force behind the Virgo detector.

“This time the whole of the science world has been rewarded,” Federico Ferrini, the director of the European Gravitational Observatory, said.

Ferrini dedicated his toast to the “father” of the Virgo detector, Adalberto Giazotto.

The Nobel Prize was shared by three American scientists - Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne - after the universe’s gravitational waves were observed for the very first time on September 14, 2015, by the LIGO detector in the USA.

The Virgo and LIGO teams have been working together for several years.