In case you haven’t heard yet, gravitational waves have been detected

I won’t attempt to describe the implications.  For that, your best bet is to read it from one of the experts, Ethan Siegel: The First Detection Of Gravitational Waves Validates Einstein In A Whole New Way!

Let’s hope those implications aren’t this.

Source: xkcd

Both General Relativity and the Standard Model or particle physics keep getting validated.  Neither is blinking, but we know they’re ultimately incompatible with each other.  Today, I think that tension ratcheted up a little more.

On the plus side, we’ll probably be able to learn all kinds of interesting things about black holes in the years to come by studying their gravitational radiation.  And if we ever are able to study primordial gravitational waves from the early stages of cosmic inflation, it may give us insights into regions of the remote universe orders of magnitude beyond what can currently be observed.

11 thoughts on “In case you haven’t heard yet, gravitational waves have been detected

    1. I think they took the BICEP2 experience to heart. They waited until the paper had been submitted, peer reviewed, and accepted before doing the press release. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee someone won’t still find an overlooked issue in the weeks and months ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Based on the evidence, I’d say we can be pretty confident they exist. For instance, the stars in the immediate vicinity of Sagittarius A* are orbiting something at a speed that indicates that unseen something is over a million solar masses. If it’s not a black hole, it’s something equally strange.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I liked this quote from Professor Sheila Rowan, one of the researchers involved:
    “The fact that we are sitting here on Earth feeling the actual fabric of the Universe stretch and compress slightly due to the merger of black holes that occurred just over a billion years ago – I think that’s phenomenal.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. it is explains that gravitational waves is a scientific fact, e.g. because… (Because it aligns almost perfectly with theoretical models of black hole mergers, and not with any known source of noise or spurious signal. In particular, the fact that two separate instruments, on either side of the USA, saw exactly the same signal rules out the possibility of some local source of error. It’s inference)
    – and my total conviction is that discovered gr.wav. is only an illusion!!! this isn’t, of course, the effect of my knowledge, only a vague presentiment that it all can be deceptive! we know almost everything about gravity, but absolutely don’t understand its essence! the best proof that scientific claims that gravity affects the fate of this universe (claims before 1998). so the conclusion that in the case of g.waves may not be as beautiful as it might seem. if so, it confirms my thesis that not only do not understand the essence of the expansion, but also proclaimed nonsense about the possibilities of gravity!


    1. I’ve read some stuff speculating that gravity may be an illusion. General relativity basically asserts that it’s an illusion as a force, being the warping of spacetime and accelerated frames of reference.

      Definitions matter of course. Fundamental forces are themselves excitations of quantum fields. If we consider spacetime as just another field, the idea of it being a force remains.

      Of course, some people assert that even the GR view of gravity is an illusion. I’ve read some stuff saying it’s actually entropy interactions or something along those lines. Can’t say I really understand these hypotheses.

      We definitely don’t understand the nature of the expansion. We know dark energy is there from its effects, but have little insight into exactly what it is. (Which is why it’s called “dark”.)

      Liked by 1 person

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