12 February 2016

Why The Discovery of Gravity Waves is BIG News

Posted by Dan Satterfield

XKCD's take on Gravity Waves.

XKCD’s take on Gravity Waves. 

Today’s announcement about gravity waves is REALLY big news. Not because it confirmed Einstein, but because we can now detect something we could not before. When we learned to detect radio waves, the world changed. Detecting X rays lead to amazing advances in medicine and seeing Infrared light lead to cameras that can see at night, along with the ability to measure temperatures, and detect elements on stars and planets. Seeing light that our eyes cannot see has led us to stunning discoveries about our place in the cosmos.

Now we can detect the waves in the spacetime of the universe itself. This may (and almost certainly will!) lead to understandings that we cannot fathom, and tell us about the very moment of the big bang. It may lead to a uniting of relativity and quantum mechanics, and the elusive “Theory of Everything”
This is BIG.
This is, You win a NOBEL PRIZE, big.
This is why great countries fund science, even when it cannot be seen at the time how that research will be beneficial to society. Time and time again, it is these research projects that change the world.