Gravitational waves

New cosmic messengers

Print edition : March 18, 2016

An artistic impression of the ripples in space-time geometry produced by two orbiting compact bodies. Photo: Courtesy NASA (nasa.tumblr.com)

Albert Einstein. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Albert Einstein'sequations on the "generalised theory of gravitation" attempt to interrelate all known physical phenomena. At that time the new theory was thought to rank with the original publication of theory of relativity as a milestone of scientific achievement. Intended to bring relativity and the quantum theory into a single system, it was impossible to say at that time whether the theory would be successful. Preliminary indications were favourable. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Rubber sheet analogy: Artist's depiction of a planet moving in the curved geometry of the sun. Photo: BORIS STAROSTA, WWW.STAROSTA.COM

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in Livingston, Louisiana, United States. Photo: COURTESY LIGO

The gravitational waves detected by the LIGO observatories in the United States on September 14, 2015, while validating Einstein’s theory of general relativity were, in a literal sense, cosmic messengers that brought first-hand information on a cataclysmic collision that occurred in a remote corner of the universe at a time when earth was just spawning first multicellular life.
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