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Gravitational waves have been detected, Einstein was right.

After 100 years of searching, an international team of physicists has confirmed the existence of Einstein's gravitational waves. That's a HUGE deal, because it opens up a whole new way of viewing and understanding the Universe.

The gravitational wave signal was detected by physicists at LIGO on September 14 last year, and the historic announcement was made at a press conference this morning. It's without a doubt one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the past century, and experts are saying it's a shoo-in for a Nobel Prize.

Gravitational waves are so exciting because they were the last major prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity that had to be confirmed, and discovering them will help us understand how the Universe is shaped by mass.

"Gravitational waves are akin to sound waves that travelled through space at the speed of light," said gravitational researcher David Blair, from the University of Western Australia. "Up to now humanity has been deaf to the universe. Suddenly we know how to listen. The Universe has spoken and we have understood."

What does that mean for us? Just think of all the breakthroughs that have come thanks to the discovery of x-rays - now that we can detect gravitational waves, we're going to have a whole new way to see and study the Universe.

But first of all, a little background on what gravitational waves actually are. According to Einstein's theory, the fabric of space-time can become curved by anything massive in the Universe. When cataclysmic events happen, such as black holes merging or stars exploding, these curves can ripple out elsewhere as gravitational waves, just like if someone had dropped a stone in a pond.

By the time those ripples get to us on Earth, they're tiny (around a billionth of the diameter of an atom), which explains why they were so hard to find.

But thanks to LIGO - the laser interferometer gravitational-wave observatory - we've finally been able to detect them. By bouncing lasers back and forth in two 4-km-long pipes, the observatory was able to measure incredibly small changes in spacetime.


So where did these gravitational waves come from? The physicists were able to trace the signal back to the merging of two black holes around 1.3 billion years ago.

"The discovery of this gravitational wave suggests that merging black holes are heavier and more numerous than many researchers previously believed," said LIGO researcher Eric Thrane, from Monash University in Australia. "This bodes well for detection of large populations of distant black holes ... It will be intriguing to see what other sources of gravitational waves are out there, waiting to be discovered."

But this is just the beginning of what gravitational waves can teach us - several other gravitational wave observatories and detectors are scheduled to come online in the next five years, and they'll allow us to start painting a picture of gravitational radiation across the Universe.

Just like we can currently listen to radio waves in order to find out what happened in the history of our Universe, we now have the ability to do the same with gravitational radiation. And what's most exciting is that we can't even begin predict right now what that could lead to.
To be, or not to be, that is the question...
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Comments

  • edited February 2016

    Historic detection of gravitational waves opens up new frontier for understanding of universe!

    — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 11, 2016

    Immensely proud that Indian scientists played an important role in this challenging quest.

    — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 11, 2016
    To be, or not to be, that is the question...
  • People celebrating this discovery today, will be fighting on August 8th, on whether Gravitational Waves are hand gestures by astronauts to indicate goodbye.
    A Lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
    https://www.facebook.com/jaime.kngslyr.1
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  • edited February 2016
    Happy Gravitational Waves Day to all. :)

    Now I just need to get a confirmation (either way) on the graviton, superstrings, worm holes, particles of dark energy and matter and quantum gravity, and I can die a happy man. :)
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
  • Gravitation waves has been discovered now how will it effects Newton Law on Gravitation and will it help in detecting other planets
    Tumne Jo Meri Kabr Par, Aakar Yun Muskura Diya Bijli Chamak Kar Gir Padi, Sara Kafan Jala Diya…… Main So Raha Tha Chain Se, Yun Hi Kafan E Mazaar Mein, Yahan Bhi Sataane Aa Gaye, Kisne Pata Bata Diya…… Tumne Chadhaye Phool To, Ehsaan Kya Kiya Humne Tumhare Ishq Mein, Sara Chaman Luta Diya….
  • इसी बात पर ( on this talk) पालटी तो बनती है - है सैलिबृेशन नाचौ ठना ठन जा के कहदो यह सब से आज की पालटी मेरी तरफ से आज की पालटी मेरी तरफ से @Bandit
    hey bro
  • edited February 2016
    @ias04286 You will get the answer to your question in tomorrow's IE. Let me paste it here :

    The narrative of the ubiquitous force of gravity begins with Galileo’s discovery that all bodies fall in the same way. The next step was Newton’s law of universal gravitation, which has the characteristic that the force acts instantaneously: If an object moves, the other responds immediately to this motion. This law explains both objects falling on earth as well as the motion of planets. However, Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity came into conflict with this instantaneous law of gravity.

    The resolution of this puzzle led to the General Theory of Relativity (GTR), whose complete equations were announced to the Prussian Academy in Berlin on November 25, 1915. GTR is a revolutionary theory because it changed our conception of space and time. In Newton’s theory, space and time are passive spectators. Special relativity mixed up space and time depending on the state of motion. If this motion is slow compared to the speed of light, then the mixing is hardly noticeable! In general relativity, space-time has a life of its own.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question...
  • Guys congratulessons hip hip hurra enjoy the discovery take full fun (पूरा मजा लो) of discovery
    hey bro
  • KrkKrk
    edited February 2016
    Today i m very proud of ppl who did this discovery they r the real scientists not our playboy pachauri He tries to use law of attraction
    hey bro
  • Krk said:

    इसी बात पर ( on this talk) पालटी तो बनती है - है सैलिबृेशन नाचौ ठना ठन जा के कहदो यह सब से आज की पालटी मेरी तरफ से आज की पालटी मेरी तरफ से @Bandit

    Sleep man
  • Bandit said:
    Happy that TH didn't criticise the Indian involvement in the discovery citing wasteful expenditures that could have been better spent on grassroots development projects. Is the editorial board unwell?
    Prelims : 2/5; Mains : 0/2; Interview : 0; Remainder : 1+1 (Tired but not; Retired) / Medical Science / Kolkata / Nihilist extraordinaire | Thanks a lot...
  • Etat said:

    Bandit said:
    Happy that TH didn't criticise the Indian involvement in the discovery citing wasteful expenditures that could have been better spent on grassroots development projects. Is the editorial board unwell?
    Unwell... Or maybe feeling the competition from IE....or maybe they still need time to digest the whole thing
  • edited February 2016
    Video really explains it well.



    To be, or not to be, that is the question...
  • @Etat Mrunal bhai ke words mein "Ye Hindu ke editorial waale apne ko Rajan bhai se zyada samajhdaar samajhte hain" :D
    To be, or not to be, that is the question...
  • Etat said:

    Bandit said:
    Happy that TH didn't criticise the Indian involvement in the discovery citing wasteful expenditures that could have been better spent on grassroots development projects. Is the editorial board unwell?
    Hilarious ETAT bhai... :D :D
    Cmon...i aint gonna bite you
  • @Disliker : bhai, etat ka kyun nahin dislike kiye?
    Sometimes a little bit of darkness is what we need to shine. You are a diamond in this coal mine. you can dazzle the world, trust me! All you need is a little patience. This too shall pass.
  • @Disliker : bhai, etat ka kyun nahin dislike kiye?

    @Disliker :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
  • edited February 2016
    Congratulations to the Scientists and science... and Hatssss offff to Shri Einstein who was a miracle... yhaa BC kl kya hoga ye nhi bta skte Unhone 100 saal baad k Noble Prize winning discoveries bhi announce kr di thiii.. unhe dekh k lgta h ki Scientists k bhi Dimag hota h ;)...


    Kl se sbhi Coaching ki Dukaano me SnT faculty bs ek hi chiz pdayegi ku6 din newbies ko .. "PhD in Gravitational waves".. "Guyz linkage bnani sikho !!"..
    .
    .
    or upsc in pre pu6egi "E= ??..i.e. BasicS only"..then Students think ohhh UPSC is Unbearable !! :smiley:
    Being IAS... 4 U Onlyyy... :-)


    " Woods are lovely dark and deep..
    But I have promises to keep..
    But I have promises to keep..
    And miles to go before I sleep.. before I sleep. " :)

    #HumHongeKamyaabEkDin :)
  • Guys to say truly, gravitational waves were faintly discovered when scientist studied eclipses and the way light bends on the side of the objects... to make such discovery an object must block real object light which was not possible in black hole, this is discovery is really great and many doors of physics will open... congrats team and Indian scientist
  • @Yo_Yo_Choti_Singh "Shri Einstien" nice way to address :D B)
    Cmon...i aint gonna bite you
  • am i the only one who could not understand the write up mentioned in the beginning of the thread, to its totality?
  • am i the only one who could not understand the write up mentioned in the beginning of the thread, to its totality?

    Bhai scientists bhi is writeup ko 100 saal baad smjhe h..not ur fault..jitna smjh ata h pd lo ..kyi din ayega ispe masala market m ajega smjh dhire dhire ;)
    Being IAS... 4 U Onlyyy... :-)


    " Woods are lovely dark and deep..
    But I have promises to keep..
    But I have promises to keep..
    And miles to go before I sleep.. before I sleep. " :)

    #HumHongeKamyaabEkDin :)
  • the interesting thing would be that the event that occured 1.3 billion years ago as seen from earth would be only few years near the horizon......
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • What will be the practical application of this discovery, say 100 years from now.

    Can time travel be a reality?
    Can age be reversed?

    Or these are just fancy scientific imagination?
    One day, perhaps, love may die of disuse, left to rust in wind and weather.
  • this is just the beginning ...now its only the detection of gravitational waves, later there would be equipment which can manipulate gravity...and a whole lot of new area to discover...better to move faster in this field...who knows some aliens like general zod would suddenly appear and terraform earth using his gravitational manipulation technologies....or we may have superman who can fly by manipulating gravity....theres a lot of scope now... :)
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • IWRA said:

    What will be the practical application of this discovery, say 100 years from now.

    Can time travel be a reality?
    Can age be reversed?

    Or these are just fancy scientific imagination?

    time cannot run backwards....but can be squeezed or elongated...beautifully explained in interstellar movie....
    regarding age its a biological things...not related to astrophysics...better to ask whther we can transfer our consciousness to a younger and healthier human being..then age factor would be no issue....
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • Its just about time to study the characteristics of gravitational waves. :yum:
    Space communication, Power and Energy transmission in space, maybe we can define and model the entire space-time continuum in a totally new way or perhaps vacuum could be a thing of past.
    Only time will tell, whether we have a competitor for the speed of light.
    Good Bye. See you Later.
  • TonyStark said:

    IWRA said:

    What will be the practical application of this discovery, say 100 years from now.

    Can time travel be a reality?
    Can age be reversed?

    Or these are just fancy scientific imagination?

    time cannot run backwards....but can be squeezed or elongated...beautifully explained in interstellar movie....
    regarding age its a biological things...not related to astrophysics...better to ask whther we can transfer our consciousness to a younger and healthier human being..then age factor would be no issue....
    Yupp.Actually time travel is a misunderstanding. Time is nothing but a relative quantity. At every instant of time, what changes is our consciousness, if we remember something about the past, we can very well reconstruct the same thing and relive the past. So its the consciousness that has to be traveled, time or space or any other future dimension shall just help us to visualize our consciousness.
    Good Bye. See you Later.
  • gravitational waves have always crossed our life...may be these waves affects our life....which we often called fate......the astrology which people often believe are nothing but affects of gravitational waves from far away stars.....a slight manipulation changes our fate...
    for eg. a miniscule change in this field can push a person slightly on a road at the perfect time when a car is arriving making an accident...
    or a person while writing an exam on a particular day suddenly feels the pen is heavier than usual and his fingers could not write much, thus reducing his marks in that paper...
    or when the examiner is checking a bundle of papers suddenly falls from the chair changing his mood of giving marks....
    and so on
    Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. - Dr. Mann
  • I knew beforehand about gravitational waves but now if i tell u u will not believe me so let's leave it alone
    hey bro
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