Opinion DC Comment 13 Feb 2016 Knowledge from darkn ...

Knowledge from darkness

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Feb 13, 2016, 12:55 am IST
Updated Feb 13, 2016, 12:55 am IST
The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT.
 The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT.

The world of science is agog. Albert Einstein was always right and we can say so with even greater authority now that gravitational waves have been recorded. What the discovery — one of science’s greatest eureka moments — means is that a window is now open to take an entirely new look at the cosmos, with vast implications for the theories of gravity as well as human understanding of black holes and stars.

The possibilities are endless now that we actually know space-time is a continuum, revalidating Einstein’s postulation of space and time being both tied together in a single concept, and which can curve, stretch and squeeze in response to mass. After the successful experiment at the LIGO labs in two US locations 3,000 km apart, scientists have been able to prove that gravitational waves — fluctuations of curvature in that space-time — exist.

Such leaps may not be easily understood, especially because the results are not tangible enough. For instance, the discovery may not lead at once to finding a cure for cancer or a time machine that man can build to search for eternity in the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time that make up space-time.

The knowledge we can gain from directly observing incredibly violent events of the past, maybe as far back as 13.8 billion years ago when the Universe was said to have been formed, itself makes this discovery the greatest breakthrough since Galileo peered through a telescope. Science can kick on beyond Einstein’s general relativity, which described splendidly the Universe on the largest scales, but we still need quantum theories to explain the smallest domains. The latest discovery from darkest space may lead to more complete explanations of everything.

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