Gravitational Waves Detected for the First Time!

Gravitational Waves Detected for the First Time!

LIGO detectors "hear" collision of black holes.

In February, it was announced that scientists at Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors observed gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime, which serve as confirmation of Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity. According to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, these waves arrived "at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe."

LIGO reported: "Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed."

 "Just imagine that one day you wake up with a new sense. Can you imagine how the world would change? This is what just happened to us. Humanity just woke up. We've always had our eyes on the stars. Now we can hear them too."
 
— Blavatnik Award Honoree Szabolcs Márka, Walter O. LeCroy, Jr. Associate Professor of Physics at Columbia University, who is a member of the Columbia team that contributes to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (as reported by Columbia News). To learn more about Márka's work, visit www.blavatnikawards.org.


Above: A LIGO scientist documents a part of the optics system. Photo courtesy of LIGO Laboratory.