Thursday, February 11, 2016

SCIENCE NEWS: Gravitational Waves Discovered (Maybe)

A possibly major development in science has occurred, if future research bears it out.  A team of scientists has announced that they had recorded the first evidence of gravitational waves, something Einstein theorized about, but could never prove.   A giant detector, with arms 2.5 miles long, recorded what is believed to be the gravitational "reverberation" (if that word even applies*) from black holes colliding a billion light-years away.

*Reverberation usually applies to sound waves, but without vocabulary appropriate to gravitational waves, I'm doing the best I can here.


"Einstein said, matter and energy distort the geometry of the universe in the way a heavy sleeper causes a mattress to sag, producing the effect we call gravity.  A disturbance in the cosmos could cause space-time to stretch, collapse and even jiggle, like a mattress shaking when that sleeper rolls over, producing ripples of gravity: gravitational waves."


Here's an easy demonstration of Einstein's theory.  Take a sheet and have two to four people  hold the edges of the sheet out as tight as they can.  Then place a large ball on it.  See how it bends the sheet.  Now, place another smaller ball on the sheet near it.  The smaller ball will roll towards the bigger ball...which shows how gravitational pull works in this theory.  If the sheet is large enough and you hold it tight enough, you can place the two balls far enough away so they will not roll towards each other, showing how distance affects gravity (two smaller balls work better for this).  You can also roll the smaller ball towards the larger one and see how it will curve around the larger ball before being pulled in towards it.

You could also demonstrate  this on a large trampoline, if you hand one available, with a person and a ball in stead of two balls.

Here's a good video that demonstrates this theory, and how it conflicts with Newton's theory of gravity.  The explanation of waves come at the very end..but the rest builds up to that.  This video was made BEFORE the recent discovery.

Pinnable Images
(They're larger than they Look)

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  1. Interesting! Never too old to learn something new :)

  2. I loved the news when I first heard it. SCIENCE!