Gravitational waves: Scientific revolutions can take decades, science editor says
|July 18, 2018||Posted by News under Cosmology, Culture, Intelligent Design, Physics|
From John Timmer at Ars Technica:
LIGO’s detection of gravitational waves came almost exactly a century after Einstein had formulated his general theory of relativity and an ensuing paper mathematically describing the possibility of gravitational waves. Or at least that’s the story as it was presented to the public (including by yours truly). And in some ways, it’s even true.
But the reality of how relativity progressed to the point where people accepted that gravitational waves are likely to exist and could possibly be detected is considerably more complicated than the simple narrative described above. In this week’s Nature Astronomy, a group of science historians lays out the full details of how we got from the dawn of relativity to the building of LIGO. And, in the process, the historians show that ideas about scientific revolutions bringing about a sudden, radical shift may sometimes miss the point.
This understanding was also needed to build the models that told us what gravitational waves should look like, based on the events that created them. These let us pull real events out of the noise as soon as we had a detector like LIGO with sufficient sensitivity to pick them up. More.
The forty-year process, Timmer says, doesn’t sound like a revolution. That’s true but it’s also worth noting that gravitational waves are actually kind of dicey for a science discovery, as the links below show. Do they exist, as do the extraterrestrials, because they are needed?
See also: Well, physics probably HAS gone off the rails if NBC is reporting it (Sabin Hossenfelder)
At Nature: How gravitational waves might help explain fundamental cosmology. But do they exist?
Rob Sheldon on Physics Nobel for gravitational waves: Another PC moment in science?
At Forbes: Gravitational waves detection was all just noise, some researchers say
BICEP2: The day the multiverse turned to dust – and so did someone’s Nobel, as a result