He said the detection was one of the most important developments in science since the discovery of the Higgs particle, and on a par with the determination of the structure of DNA.
"There is a Nobel Prize in it - there is no doubt," he told the BBC.
"It is the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves; it's the first ever direct detection of black holes and it is a confirmation of General Relativity because the property of these black holes agrees exactly with what Einstein predicted almost exactly 100 years ago."
Gravitational waves are prediction of the Theory of General Relativity
Their existence has been inferred by science but only now directly detected
They are ripples in the fabric of space and time produced by violent events
Accelerating masses will produce waves that propagate at the speed of light
Detectable sources ought to include merging black holes and neutron stars
LIGO fires lasers into long, L-shaped tunnels; the waves disturb the light
Detecting the waves opens up the Universe to completely new investigations
That view was reinforced by Prof Stephen Hawking, who is an expert on black holes. Speaking exclusively to BBC News, he said he believed that the detection marked a key moment in scientific history.
"Gravitational waves provide a completely new way at looking at the Universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionise astronomy. This discovery is the first detection of a black hole binary system and the first observation of black holes merging," he said.
"Apart from testing (Albert Einstein's theory of) General Relativity, we could hope to see black holes through the history of the Universe. We may even see relics of the very early Universe during the Big Bang at some of the most extreme energies possible."
Team member Prof Gabriela González, from Louisiana State University, said: "We have discovered gravitational waves from the merger of black holes. It's been a very long road, but this is just the beginning.
"Now that we have the detectors to see these systems, now that we know binary black holes are out there - we'll begin listening to the Universe. "
On a graph, the data looks like a symmetrical, wiggly line that gradually increases in height and then suddenly fades away.
"We found a beautiful signature of the merger of two black holes and it agrees exactly - fantastically - with the numerical solutions to Einstein equations... it looked too beautiful to be true," said Prof Danzmann.