Gravitational waves: they are something that we’ve heard a lot about recently, but do you really know what they are?

A few months ago you may remember hearing that science had confirmed the existence of gravitational waves. If you are anything like me, your first question was, “What are gravitational waves?” followed by, “And why is this such a big deal?” I have finally found the answer to both those questions in language I can understand and will share them with you today!

In the most basic sense, gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, as a part of his theory of general relativity. Up until recently, the existence of gravitational waves was still theoretical. That is until LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, detected gravitational waves for the first time.

Explaining gravitational waves much beyond that is best left to the professionals, so here is a channel we here at EWC love, The Good Stuff, to help us fill in why this was such a tremendous discovery. If you haven’t heard of The Good Stuff before, you’re in luck! They’ve got some incredible content over there, so go check them out when you get the chance!

Since that initial discovery, there has been a second detection of gravitational waves!

This time, scientists detected the collision of two smaller black holes, and this confirmational discovery has been equally as exciting for scientists. Here’s another great video from the fantastic DNews on YouTube.

Via: DNews 2

New waves of discovery…

The detection of gravitational waves is the perfect example of a paradigm shift that opens up a new field of understanding and study.

Where once we could only gaze up at the sky and wonder how many black holes lay out there in the universe, or hypothesize how far we could see back in time, we can now be searching for answers.

As technology advances, we are able to make major discoveries about our universe at an unprecedented rate. It is truly an inspiring time to be alive as mystery after mystery in our understanding is peeled back. It excites me to think about how frequently we will have to change how we teach future students about the known world. Our idea of what is fact seems to be changing on a monthly if not weekly basis.

Perhaps we can find a way to celebrate the expansion of our knowledge more. The more each and every one of us knows about our world and how it works, the more we raise each other up to be a more educated and knowledge seeking planet.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

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Notes:

  1. “Gravitational Waves 101: How to Hear the Universe.” YouTube. The Good Stuff, 14 June 2016. Web. 17 June 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Uy7Pp9OZDM>.
  2. “We Found Gravitational Waves…AGAIN!!!” YouTube. DNews, 15 June 2016. Web. 17 June 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsWPB37iR_8>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV