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Space & Astronomy

Gravitational wave scientists bag Nobel Prize

October 3, 2017 | Comment icon 9 comments



Gravitational waves were first picked up in 2015. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes
The winning trio were responsible for the first ever confirmed detection of gravitational waves.
Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne picked up this year's Nobel prize in physics for their work on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment.

Originally proposed by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity, gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time that carry energy across the universe.

The first time gravitational waves were detected was back in 2015 when LIGO picked up the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes situated over one billion light years away.
Since then there have been three more confirmed detections including one in August of this year.

Scientists are now hoping to use gravitational waves to learn more about the Big Bang.

"There are calculations that indicate that the very earliest instants of the universe, right after the universe gets born, there is an enormous amount of background radiation of gravitational waves generated," said Weiss.

"That would be one of the most fascinating things man could [see] because it will tell you very much how the universe starts."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by EBE Hybrid 5 years ago
Remarkable discovery, the three are very deserving winners of the Nobel prize
Comment icon #2 Posted by TaintlessMetals 5 years ago
They should be proud, this will lay the stones for humanities path to the rest of the universe. So much progress will be made from what we learn, very deserving of this accolade.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Derek Willis 5 years ago
It's interesting how science evolves. The virtually unknown British genius Oliver Heaviside was first to mention the possibility of gravity waves in 1893. Heaviside had previously reduced Maxwell's original unmanageable twenty electromagnetic equations to the four we now use. Then through analogy with the waves produced by an excited electromagnetic field, he suggested a similar situation would occur with a gravitational field. Then in 1905 the French mathematician Henri Poincare proposed gravity waves would be a requirement of the Lorenz transformations (which themselves had their origins in ... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 years ago
this proof of concept discovery was somewhat expected since i knew about this project. Science does make progress but lets hope it won't die but carried forward. There's a lot of benefits tided into it; such as exploring the possibility to transmit information or even more travel by it... well time travel etc
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot 5 years ago
It's so fascinating to see just on what level of sensitivity did LIGO sensors had to have to detect gravitational waves and do measurements. In talk about LIGO, moderated by Brian Greene LINK scientists mention basis of scepticism over the project when they were making proposal for LIGO in 1989. At 1:13:00 in video they talk about it. Very interesting piece of this large project.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ell 5 years ago
What was discovered was a vibration. That is a fact. It has been asserted that the vibration was caused by a gravitational wave. That is not a fact, but an interpretation.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Derek Willis 5 years ago
Perhaps you could suggest - and back up with maths - what else other than a gravitational wave caused the disturbances in the manner predicted by the GR field equations. You can then pass the information on to Kip Thorne. I am sure he would be willing to give his Nobel prize to you.  
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
So now scientist want to study gravitational waves in with the Big Bang Theory (the actually bang, not the TV show that I'd like to blow up!)  Maybe this version of the universe isn't as old as we think maybe it just keeps getting "Banged" over and over again. You know, keep playing with the puzzle pieces until you get something you like.That almost sounded slightly religious.
Comment icon #9 Posted by qxcontinuum 5 years ago
I don't think this universe is older as they initially said. Heck i don't believe in Carbon dating method either! The years they push back evolution is unsettling un-comfortable to my own observations or calculation/estimations of a few phisical and chemical processes i know.  Recently has been discovered that Neptun's rings are relatively newer than history of Dinosaurus on Earth. So we must be ready to embrace every new discovery as crazy it seems to be or as uncomfortable to old fart scientists . What i expect in the next 5 years would be announcement that there was life on Mars and it peri... [More]


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