The ripples in the space and time fabric of the universe have been predicted by last century’s greatest scientific mind in 1916, but this week more than 1,000 scientists finally confirmed Einstein prediction on gravitational waves.
The existence of the elusive waves was confirmed after astronomers watched two supermassive black holes collide. The event was recorded by a state-of-the-art pair of telescopes dubbed the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).
LIGO took the scientific community by storm when it reproduced a faint sound like a cosmic ‘chirp’ which was in fact the audio version of a gravitational wave. The finding is monumental, with some scientists saying that it is even greater than the discovery of the Higgs boson, or the God particle, in 2012.
The big announcement that the gravitational waves have finally been given an audio form was done Thursday. The news was hailed by scientists worldwide since many of them have hoped for years to find a way to actually ‘hear’ the universe.
Some of them said that the discovery is comparable to switching from silent movies to talking pictures.
“Until this moment, we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music,”
noted Szabolcs Marka, co-author of the big discovery and researcher with the Columbia University.
The gravitational wave was detected 1.3 billion light-years away during a black hole merger. Still, the proof is quite weak – a single ‘chirp’ – so it needs to be further confirmed. But still, scientists explained that the chances for them to be wrong are one in 3.5 million.
The sound, which was recorded Sept 14, 2015, was played over and over during a press conference Thursday. Scientists believe that this is only the beginning since they plan to obtain the universe’s official sound track in the next decade.
Abhay Ashtekar of the Penn State commented on the finding and compared it to the decision of the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei to use the telescope and take a look at our solar system.
British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking praised the breakthrough as a means to revolutionize everything we currently known about astronomy.
Albert Einstein have suspected that the universe is dotted with gravitational waves since the beginning of the last century. He advanced the idea under the famous theory of general relativity in 1916. Back then, he theorized that extremely massive objects can disrupt the space and time continuum when they crash into one another. But he was pessimistic that scientists would ever be able to detect the resulting gravitational waves.
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