Gravitational Waves Discovery: What led to this year's Nobel Prize in Physics - TechTitanic

Gravitational Waves Discovery: What led to this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics

Gravitational Waves Discovery

Hey tech enthusiasts!! Today’s post is all about the Gravitational Waves Discovery.

Our post will address a crucial concept that saw 3 scientists win the Nobel peace prize on October 3.

It is THIS very gravitational wave discovery that led to 3 scientists-Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Baris, to win the prize. They will each share the nine million kronor (£831,000) prize.

Gravitational Waves

Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Baris won the Nobel prize in physics for the first observations of gravitational waves.

The technology to discover this wave is over 130 years old.

In 1887, Albert Michelson, conducted an experiment which he thought would lead to the detection of luminiferous ether.

Unfortunately, his experiment was a failure. However, this instrument idea used by Michelson was used more than a century  later to detect the gravitational waves.

Gravitational Waves

The interferometer is the heart of Michelson’s research.

Existence for this type of wave has been suggested by Albert Einstein in 1916 but there was no solid way to prove it. Neither did scientists at that time could detect its presence.

Fast-forward to September 2015, scientists under LIGO (or Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) first successfully proved its existence.

Gravitational Waves

Gravitational Waves Discovery was made in LIGO’s observatory site which expands up-to 4 kilometers.

At LIGO, adjustments were made to the original instrument used by Michelson’s research.

Michelson used light inside closed tubes to make tiny measurements of his phenomenon of luminiferous ether.

LIGO, on the other hand used two observatories in Washington state and Louisiana along with laser light.

Upon discovery, LIGO’s experiment was conducted 3 more times to confirm their findings of the waves.

Gravitational Waves Discovery

Delicate and sensitive instruments where used to detect presence of the waves

It is wrong to say only 3 scientists were wholly responsible for this recent discovery. Hundreds of scientists and engineers worked under LIGO to seal the evidence of gravitational waves.

The prize won is sadly meant for individuals and not organizations.

There is a lot to cover on this.  We feel this is what our readers must be aware off especially about Albert Michelson.

Gravitational Waves  is a thought-provoking thing as they are ripples that come out from violent collision between two black holes.

We listed some cool-drooling features of these powerful waves.

Features and Facts of Gravitational Waves 

  1. Basically, gravitational waves are generated when any kind of object has mass under acceleration.
  2. Our earth generates gravitational waves with its acceleration and with the Sun’s gravity. Our bodies also generate these waves but both are too weak to be detected.
  3. It is impossible to detect gravitational waves from any object as it requires massive objects to create a gravitational wave signal strong enough to be detected.
  4. The only massive object which can create a strong gravitational wave signal is when 2 Black Hole collide with each other.
  5. Gravitational wave is Einstein’s last unconfirmed predictions.
  6. Two black holes detected by LIGO for experiment were 29 times and 36 times the mass of the Sun.
  7. Detecting this wave due to the loss in strength of the wave by the time it reaches earth. When these waves reach earth, they have already traveled tens of millions of light years to Earth.
  8. LIGO developed extremely sensitive instruments to detect any contamination made by gravitational waves. To detect the waves, LIGO stationed itself away from society to prevent contamination of the waves that reach the earth.
  9. LIGO’s detection sites stretched as far as 4 kilo-meters.


Its mind-blowing how a more than hundred year old effort got to be handy in understanding our concept of waves in space. I am sure that kids in school will in the future see a new chapter added to their physics text books besides other waves. It is without a doubt going to be Gravitational Waves.

  1. Md. Sifat Hossain
    • Ash Adirah

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