Einstein’s theory relativity confirmed

Sean Callaghan, Sports Reporter

Weeks ago, a team of scientists announced in Washington D.C. that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, fulfilling Einstein’s theory of relativity. This collision made gravitational waves. This discover is a century after Albert Einstein originally rewrote our understanding of space and time upon with the conception of his theory.

Long predicted but never directly seen, gravitational waves are ripples in the universe. Albert Einstein compared the shape of the universe to a single fabric, hewn from space and time. According to this theory of general relativity, the force of gravity is the result of curvature in this space-time, and gravitational waves are ripples in it, produced when massive objects collide, such as black holes. Einstein’s theory of general relativity has slightly revolutionized our understanding of gravity and is one of the great pillars of modern physics.  Here on Earth, two giant detectors on opposite sides of the United States quivered as gravitational waves washed over them.

After decades trying to directly detect the waves, the recently upgraded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, better known as Advanced LIGO, appears to have succeeded, introducing a new era of astronomy. To spot a signal, LIGO uses a special mirror to split a beam of laser light and sends the beams down two 4-kilometer-long arms, at a 90 degree angle to each other. After ricocheting back and forth 400 times, turning each beam’s journey into a 1,600 kilometer round-trip, the light recombines near its source.

Some possible sources of gravitational waves are supernovas, spinning neutron stars, super massive black hole pairings, and a big bang. In a single spinning neutron star, the core left behind after a massive star explodes, can whip up spacetime at frequencies similar to the ones produced by colliding black holes. Powerful explosions known as supernovas, explosions triggered when a massive star dies, can shake space and blast the cosmos with a burst of high-frequency gravitational waves.Pairs of black holes, more than a million times as massive as the sun radiate long, surging waves. Though Advanced LIGO can’t detect waves at this frequency, scientists might spot them by looking for subtle variations in the steady beats of pulsating radio stars. The Big Bang might have triggered universe-sized gravitational waves 13.8 billion years ago. These waves would have left an imprint on the first light released into the cosmos 380,000 years later, and could be seen today in the cosmic microwave background.

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. Albert Einstein always had a passion for inquiry that eventually led him to develop the special and general theories that he did. He won the Nobel Prize for physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, and then immigrated to the U.S. after being targeted by Nazis. The curious and adventurous nature of Albert Einstein has given our world many discoveries and valued parts of society.


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