Gravitational wave

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Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime which are created whenever objects with mass move. They were predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916 on the basis of his theory of general relativity.[1] As gravitational waves are not created from stationary objects, they must be detected from moving systems. Sources of detectable gravitational waves include binary star systems composed of white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes.

On February 11, 2016, the Advanced LIGO team announced that they had directly detected gravitational waves from a pair of black holes merging.[2][3][4] In June the Virgo team announced that they too had detected the waves.

Gravity and relativity[change | change source]

In physics, gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime that travel outward from the source. Albert Einstein predicted them in 1916 on the basis of his theory of general relativity.[1][5] In theory, gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation.

In general relativity, gravitational waves cannot travel faster than the speed of light. They do not exist in the Newtonian theory of gravitation, in which physical interactions propagate at infinite speed. However, the detection of gravitational waves proves the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

In 1993, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for measurements of the Hulse-Taylor binary star system that suggests gravitational waves are more than mathematical anomalies.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 B. Barish: The detection of gravitational waves using LIGO. [1]
  2. Castelvecchi, Davide; Witze, Witze (February 11, 2016). "Einstein's gravitational waves found at last". Nature News. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.19361. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  3. B. P. Abbott et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration) (2016). "Observation of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger". Physical Review Letters 116 (6). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102.
  4. "Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein's prediction | NSF - National Science Foundation". Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  5. Finley, Dave. "Einstein's gravity theory passes toughest test yet: Bizarre binary star system pushes study of relativity to new limits". Phys.Org. 
  6. The prize was shared by Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr. "for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation".