We've Found Gravitational Waves. What Will We Learn From Them?

Spotting them was the easy part. Now gravitational waves will help unravel these mysteries of the cosmos.

RELATED TAGS: PHYSICS
Gravitational-Waves

In February 2016, Albert Einstein made history, again. That’s when physicists announced they’d finally observed what the great scientist’s theories had predicted 100 years earlier: gravitational waves.

The first confirmed sighting of gravitational waves — distortions of space-time, literally ripples in the fabric of the universe — was a tremendous feat, earning Nobel Prizes for the key developers of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). The waves’ ultimate source was just as fantastic as the engineering that went into detecting them: two black holes smashing together, their enormous gravities sending undulations throughout the cosmos.

This achievement, the culmination of a multidecade-long effort, was justifiably celebrated. But while it resolved the long-standing issue of whether gravitational waves existed, it also marked a starting point for a whole new journey.

DSC-CV0519web

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on DiscoverMagazine.com, please log in.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
DSC-CV0519web
+