It was expected, is was a loud secret, but it is well deserved prize.
The detection and verification of the Gravitational Waves predicted by Einstein in 2016 has been awarded with the Physics Nobel prize 2017.
Science might look less exciting in real life than in movies, as there everything is so fast, so stressful, that it seems that you only need seconds to revolutionize life.
But that is far from truth. I remember studying General Relativity in my last year in college. It was one of the courses that I most enjoyed, time dilation, gravitational pull that distorts space and time, black holes, cosmology. Gravitational waves, GW, was one chapter that I did not expect, I though that was going to be a rough mathematical one with minor implications. But it wasn't. It was surprising to imagine that we could see beyond light by using GW. Indeed, in the final project that I had to do in that course I was asked to figure out a way to detect them. I related that to the solid state course that I was taking at the same time. But I was off by several orders of magnitude.
At that time the LIGO project was a baby just newborn.
The discovery of GW is not just one more of hundreds of demonstrations that Einstein's General Relativity works (I'd say rules), but it is the opening of new eyes to the Universe.
I was socked when the first announcement of their detection on Earth, I was waiting for the LISA project. The LIGO experiment, that triangulates with three detectors now (two in the U.S. and one in Italy) is able to see were the light can't reach. It is able to study phenomena that can't otherwise be studied.
It is the opening of a new astronomy, and I am proud and happy that Carleton College has contributed to that achievement.
Next Monday October 16th LIGO will make a new announcement, probably detection of neutron star merger? We better stay tuned.
Here and here you can find the last of the publications of the LIGO team on September 2017.
Physicist, working in quantum optics and nonlinear dynamics in optical systems. Loves to communicate science.