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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:02AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the einstein-could-be-wrong-you-know dept.

AnonTechie writes:

"The search for gravity waves has been a century long epic. They are a prediction of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity but for years physicists argued about their theoretical existence. By literally squeezing light on a quantum level, scientists are refining detection instruments to an extent never seen before.

If you want to place bets on the date of first detection of some gravity wave then some physicists would bet on 2016, probably the majority would bet 2017. A few pessimists would say that we will discover unexpected problems that might take a few years to solve."

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:17AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:17AM (#6544)

    The Ring of Charon [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 1) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:38PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:38PM (#6572)

      That book looks really interesting. Is it good?

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:49PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:49PM (#6677) Homepage Journal

        More to the point, does it have anything to do with gravity waves? They're mentioned in Nobots (Chapter 23) [mcgrewbooks.com].

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:28PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:28PM (#6712)

          According to the OP's Wikipedia link, the book is about some aliens discovering Earth when humans perform artificial gravity experiments focused at the Moon, which sets off automated detectors the aliens had planted there. If you believe that gravity waves are real, and are willing to accept the possibility of artificial gravity (at least as a plot device, as this is a sci-fi book), then the answer is yes.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by CaptainK on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:12AM

        by CaptainK (1110) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:12AM (#7055)

        Do read the book, it is well written.

        --
        Your imagination is your only limitation to creation.
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by isostatic on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:19AM

      by isostatic (365) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @07:19AM (#7172) Journal

      The Ring of Charon

      I see your Charon and raise you The Ring of Goatse [tinyurl.com]

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by stormwyrm on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:49PM

    by stormwyrm (717) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:49PM (#6577) Journal

    There is conclusive evidence for gravity waves, and their effects have been noted from the careful observation of PSR B1913+16 [wikipedia.org] which is a binary pulsar system 21,000 light years away in the constellation Aquila. The two neutron stars that make up this system orbit each other around their common centre of mass, however, they're spiralling into each other because their orbits are gradually losing energy precisely as predicted by the theory of gravitational waves from General Relativity. They'll eventually collide and probably merge into a black hole in about 300 million years. This has been convincing enough indirect evidence of the reality of gravitational waves that the scientists involved, Russell Alan Hulse and Joseph Hooton Taylor, received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery and analysis of this pulsar.

    --
    Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:35PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:35PM (#6591)

      You are correct, although I think it best explained by analogy that Maxwell's and Marconi's experiments were all well and good and no one seriously claimed they were wrong, but, folks still want to build radio telescopes anyway.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:58PM

        by c0lo (156) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:58PM (#6600) Journal

        You are correct, although I think it best explained by analogy that Maxwell's and Marconi's experiments were all well and good and no one seriously claimed they were wrong, but, folks still want to build radio telescopes anyway.

        Yes, but not to confirm the theory. It was only because they thought it would be a pity to waste such a cool acronym like SETI.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hubie on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:28PM

    by hubie (1068) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:28PM (#6663) Journal

    Some of us greybeard physicists will recall that since the 80's, we should see self-sustained fusion in the next 10 years. Fusion is another case where there is pretty high confidence in the underlying physics, but the technical challenges are pretty great. Unfortunately, in both cases the scale of the experiments is large enough that building them is time and money intensive. Funding agencies can't necessarily hedge their bets by funding a wide range of approaches, so you back the best looking approach at the time. If that approach doesn't pan out, you try something else, but unfortunately you've lost the better part of a decade along the way.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:03PM (#6745)

      I see self-sustained fusion on every clear day, by just looking in the sky. ;-)

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by naubol on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:29AM

        by naubol (1918) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:29AM (#7027)

        You must have a sunny optimism.

  • (Score: 0) by kaalon on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:10AM

    by kaalon (499) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:10AM (#7039)

    I know things happen slowly but this is exciting news. I remember the gravity probes A and B showing that frame-dragging was shown.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by CaptainK on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:21AM

      by CaptainK (1110) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:21AM (#7062)

      and iirc they also made some cool equipment for that experiment.
      For example, the perfect sphere.

      http://einstein.stanford.edu/TECH/technology1.html [stanford.edu]

      --
      Your imagination is your only limitation to creation.
      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:42PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:42PM (#7299) Journal

        kaalon (499) wrote:

        I know things happen slowly but this is exciting news. I remember the gravity probes A and B showing that frame-dragging was shown.

        CaptainK (1110) replied:

        and iirc they also made some cool equipment for that experiment.
        For example, the perfect sphere.

        http://einstein.stanford.edu/TECH/technology1.html [stanford.edu].

        That is an amazing article; thanks so much for the link! I am in absolute awe of the engineering that went into the design and implementation of the probe. For example, each gyroscope in the probe is only 1.5 inches in diameter. From the linked article:

        Alternatively, imagine a GP-B gyroscope enlarged to the size of the Earth. On Earth, the tallest mountains, like Mount Everest, are tens of thousands of feet high. Likewise, the deepest ocean trenches are tens of thousands of feet deep. By contrast, if a GP-B gyroscope were enlarged to the size of the Earth, its tallest mountain or deepest ocean trench would be only eight feet! (emphasis added)

        Satellite orientation was determined through half-silvered mirrors, roof prisms, and photo-diodes. They needed liquid Helium to keep the sensors cold enough to perform the measurements and had a 645 gallon Dewar for this purpose. Over time some of the liquid helium would boil off. They fed this boiled-off (now gaseous) helium to micro thrusters to adjust the entire satellite's orientation.

        I could go on, but it's better to just read the link.

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.