When Albert Einstein passed away in 1955 he wasn't sure anymore about the existence of Gravitational Waves, original predicted in 1916 on the basis of his theory of general relativity.
60 years later on September 14th, 2015, the LIGO ( Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory ) detectors in Hanford and Livingston registered a compression strain of space by 10-19 meters, 1/10.000 times the diameter of a proton, through two 4 km long arms in which laser beams have been travelling back and forth 400 times, an event from now on becoming popular under its name GW150914. The event was caused by two black holes colliding 1.3 billion light years away from Earth, each having a solar mass of 30.
I always find it amazing what physicist discover these days and what complex machines they build to answer fundamental questions about the creation and existence of the universe. LIGO has cost 1.1 billion dollars and it took 40 years to build it. Another even more famous example of such a machine is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) built by scientists and engineers from 100 countries for 3 billion dollar -> to discover the Higgs-Bosom, the last missing piece for the Standard Theory of particles.
I find it amazing what math they use and what conclusions they draw from the signals they measure, thoughts most human beings including myself never will be able to follow. They create the sort of knowledge we can only believe in, which often is just valid temporarily before it becomes overruled by new insights through even bigger and more complex machines and theories.
Source: bild der wissenschaft 4-2016 and Wikipedia
1 blog comments below
It is also very paradoxical that we use even more enormous machines to observe particles that are more and more small. And of course it is a great advance in science. We have discovered more about the universe in the last century than on the man's history. About two centuries ago, we still thought that the universe was built in seven days.
MasterOfReality on Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:37 am