The Earth has twitched, and that is not a metaphor referring to weird decisions of world leaders that may affect the whole planet. Literally, the Earth has twitched.
In their sinister dance, they were loosing energy, closing their positions in continuous rotation. One day of three billion years ago, they collapsed in a deadly espiral until they merged into a black hole 50 times the mass of our sun. In their final collapse, the two black hole radiated a huge amount of energy (more than the rest of the visible universe) in the form of gravitational waves. those waves, shacked the fabric of space-time, and literally stretched and expanded the distances throughout the universe. The Earth trembled, and you and I also.
On January 4th, 2017, just a few weeks after running again the detectors of LIGO (Light Interferometer for Gravitational waves Observer), two equal signals arrived at both observatories (Washington and Louisiana). Those signals made space oscillate by one ten-thousandth of the size of a proton. A really small amount that scientists and engineers at LIGO are able to discriminate from any other noise signal. This way we can scrutinize the universe.
After millions of years of evolution, the last 400 years have made a crucial leap in the way the human being investigates the universe and our place in it. We are able to answer fundamental questions about the cosmos. Abstract concepts such as the universe itself, space and time , are tools used in a daily basis by scientists, that help us understand and keep ongoing the fascinating enterprise of the discovery. It would be good that, as a society, we elected leaders that show a genuine interest to support that marvelous aspect of humans.
Physicist, working in quantum optics and nonlinear dynamics in optical systems. Loves to communicate science.