Einstein was right: Gravitational waves detected for first time in landmark discovery

By Shawn Knight
Feb 11, 2016
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  1. Scientists with the LIGO Laboratory announced earlier today that they've discovered gravitational waves. Some are calling it the most important breakthrough in modern science, something that Einstein predicted more than 100 years ago as part of his theory of relativity.

    David Reitze, executive director of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, said the waves they detected were a result of two black holes merging at half the speed of light. The event, which involved one black hole roughly the mass of 29 suns and another equivalent to 36 suns, took place roughly 1.3 billion years ago (it's taken them that long to reach Earth).

    The waves, which Reitze said stretched and compressed our planet like Jell-O, were observed on September 14, 2015. They're so small, however, that they've been impossible to detect until just recently. LIGO was developed for this exact purpose, to detect gravitational waves.

    Scientists spent the past six months convincing themselves that their findings were indeed accurate.

    Columbia University physicist Szabolcs Marka, leader of the LIGO member Columbia Experimental Gravity Group, has been working on the project for more than a decade. Marka notes that although Einstein believed in the existence of gravitational waves, he thought they were so small that nobody would ever be able to measure them.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    Most important discovery in modern science? Only if it leads to anti-gravity.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    Or maybe warp drive. :)
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Right! I just lost interest right there. When they stick to facts not theories, I will listen.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    It sure looks like Mrs Einstein didn't raise any little fools.
  6. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,248   +220

    Baby steps. That is how progress works if you did not know.
  7. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,248   +220

    Do you know what a Scientific Theory actually is?
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Yes it is a waste of my time until they can prove it to be fact. And in this case will never happen.
  9. darkzelda

    darkzelda TS Addict Posts: 251   +86

    Now we may stop naming Relativity a theory but a law of nature instead. It's really amazing how a mathematical theory like Relativity has been proven to be right every time.
  10. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    I remember reading this last year, why post it again now? Next big post will be about the Earth orbiting the sun or the earth being proven to be a spheroid?
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 933   +240

    They did base this on the observation of the stretching of space and they have convinced themselves that what they observed was confirmation of the theory after putting the observation through an exhaustive validation process. They postulated a theory, then observed an effect that was predicted by the theory. The observation is the "fact" that it sounds like you are searching for. Unfortunately, TechSpot articles on things of this nature are sorely lacking, IMHO. Here is a much better article on it

    Here is another good story at NPR where they interview one of the scientists involved - he tells what was observed to convince them that they had observed a gravitational wave and hints at the very rigorous validation process.

    They have not simply postulated a theory, they have observed a physical phenomenon that they believe matches what the theory predicts.
  12. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +307

    hmmm...when did the mention of a scientific theory turn into the mention of a Scientific Theory? Do the caps lend it more authority, credence or gravitas or something?
  13. Silvernine

    Silvernine TS Rookie

    Apparently the group that "discovered" it quickly admit that their results was actually due to noise or something so it wasn't valid. I sure hope the same is not going to happen with this group...

    Who cares? Anything to say about his/her point? Seems like you got worked up over their choice of capitalization.

    Who knows. One day... one day. There were many theories that were proven many many years after it was first hypothesized. In quite many cases, it was proven after the initial person who came up with it died.
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I've heard these stories before. They usually start like this "Once upon a time, in a land far away, ...". Basing it on fact does not counter the notion it is still fiction.
  15. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +307

    Just a worry of the possibility of science as dogma (the so-called scientism), much like the teaching of the Catholic Church before the renaissance. People need to think, even about science.
    I share your hope that this is a genuine discovery and no fatal flaws are found with the experiment.
  16. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 933   +240

    It is already accepted that matter bends space. The scientific community agrees on this based in part on the observation that during a solar eclipse, stars that appear near the edge of the sun appear in a slightly different position. And this phenomenon also manifests itself in the guise of gravitational lensing - where distant galaxies produce double images of the galaxies behind them.

    Why then would two extremely massive bodies merging somewhere in the universe not send a ripple, I.e., a gravitational wave, through space?

    Maybe in a few years, the people who announced this will say, oops, we were wrong. In which case, then, it will be cause for you to celebrate. For now, though, they have gone to great lengths to validate their data. If you have something that makes their data invalid, feel free to bring it to them and tell them that their data is bad.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I'm not discrediting any facts they may have on said gravitational wave. If that is indeed a fact. I'm discrediting their theory on what caused the ripples. They are practically looking at a red sky and saying blood has been spilled this night. The fact is they don't know what they are recording or what caused it, they only know a name they want to call it.
  18. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 933   +240

    Where in what has been released do you find support for your supposition?
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I presented that in my first posting on this topic.

    They don't know:
    if it was black holes that cause the phenomenon
    the masses of such black holes or their equivalence to a sun
    the distance of which the phenomenon has traveled or where it originated​

    They can't put their finger on it, so they speculate and call it fact until proven otherwise. And in this case they can only theorize further. No one, I repeat no one knows what happened outside of documented history. And even then it was often fictionally written to satisfy the winning side. This crap is worse than conspiracy theories. At least with conspiracy theories people are trying to smell the roses and live in reality.
  20. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 113   +27

    It tragic that this incredible science, being carried out for no other reason than to further our understanding of the universe, is being shot down by Internet Nobodies with less-than-zero real understanding of the topic.
    DanUK and H3llion like this.
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    The tragedy is people believing anything they hear.

    When I was in school Pluto was taught to be the ninth planet. That is a topic of which can be seen from a telescope within this century. We don't have to guess about it's existence, yet our opinion of it seemed to have changed. Don't even suggest to me that this gravitational wave explanation is anything but fantasy.
  22. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    No, it was this group I read about in Sept 2015.
  23. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,248   +220

    From something to become a hypothesis to a scientific theory is a lot of thorough testing, calculations, retesting and more calculations. In common language, a theory is just a theory, without a proof, just a speculation. This is not the case.

    Sure it's better to wait before jumping into conclusions.

    Beauty about Science that it constantly evolves, you will never have definite answer even when the proof is there. Our view of the Universe is minute and if you are looking for pure answers, just stick to reading statistics rather then scientific related topics.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    DanUK, Bmztor and OortCloud like this.
  24. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,248   +220

    Science, no matter how some want to perceive it is not a dogma. You need belief in your life to drive you forward, your passions and your interests.

    Unlike the Dogmas we have today, Science constantly evolves, other Scientists or even the same ones>

    (to others) not the above
    Related to this topic. If you want "FACTS" either pickup maths/physics/cosmology and start grinding or travel billions of light years and victness the actual events. Since the former is out of question and the latter not possible at this time, this is all we have. If you find this pointless and bunch of bs, then don't read it?

    Evolution, an evolution of knowledge and mind. Evolution is not perfect.
    Bmztor likes this.
  25. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,248   +220

    Wasting your time?
    Many things in our history were believed to be true.

    A group decided that Pluto was not really a planet because of its size and location in space. So Pluto and objects like it are now called dwarf planets. Pluto is also called a plutoid. A plutoid is a dwarf planet that is farther out in space than the planet Neptune.

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