Another of his theories proven accurate, 100 years after he predicted it. Gravitational waves exist. Think of the universe as one giant pool of water; a wave from an event moves out and through the universe like ripples in a pond. But beyond that, like molecules of water, we too may be interconnected. When a wave of positivity, or a wave of negativity moves our way, we feel it, we adjust to it; we may not be conscious of it, but it's there. "There's a Nobel in this discovery" indeed.
Einstein's gravitational waves 'seen' from black holes
The international team says the first detection of these gravitational waves will usher in a new era for astronomy.
It is the culmination of decades of searching and could ultimately offer a window on the Big Bang. The research, by the Ligo Collaboration, has been published today in the journal Physical Review Letters.
The collaboration operates a number of labs around the world that fire lasers through long tunnels, trying to sense ripples in the fabric of space-time. Expected signals are extremely subtle, and disturb the machines, known as interferometers, by just fractions of the width of an atom. But the black hole merger was picked up by two widely separated LIGO facilities in the US.
"We have detected gravitational waves," David Reitze, executive director of the Ligo project, told journalists at a news conference in Washington DC. "It's the first time the Universe has spoken to us through gravitational waves. Up until now, we've been deaf."
Prof Karsten Danzmann, from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany, is a European leader on the collaboration.He said the detection was one of the most important developments in science since the discovery of the Higgs particle, and on a par with the determination of the structure of DNA.
"There is a Nobel Prize in it - there is no doubt," he told the BBC.
"It is the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves; it's the first ever direct detection of black holes and it is a confirmation of General Relativity because the property of these black holes agrees exactly with what Einstein predicted almost exactly 100 years ago."
Ripples in the fabric of space-time
- Gravitational waves are prediction of the Theory of General Relativity
- Their existence has been inferred by science but only now directly detected
- They are ripples in the fabric of space and time produced by violent events
- Accelerating masses will produce waves that propagate at the speed of light
- Detectable sources ought to include merging black holes and neutron stars
- LIGO fires lasers into long, L-shaped tunnels; the waves disturb the light
- Detecting the waves opens up the Universe to completely new investigations
That view was reinforced by Professor Stephen Hawking, who is an expert on black holes. Speaking exclusively to BBC News he said he believed that the detection marked a moment in scientific history.
"Gravitational waves provide a completely new way at looking at the Universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionise astronomy. This discovery is the first detection of a black hole binary system and the first observation of black holes merging," he said.
"Apart from testing (Albert Einstein's theory of) General Relativity, we could hope to see black holes through the history of the Universe. We may even see relics of the very early Universe during the Big Bang at some of the most extreme energies possible."Team member Prof Gabriela González, Louisiana State University said: "We have discovered gravitational waves from the merger of black holes. It's been a very long road, but this is just the beginning.
"Now that we have the detectors to see these systems, now that we know binary black holes are out there, we'll begin listening to the Universe. "
The Ligo laser interferometers in Hanford, in Washington, and Livingstone, in Louisiana, were only recently refurbished and had just come back online when they sensed the signal from the collision.
Prof Sheila Rowan, who is one of the lead UK researchers involved in the project, said that the first detection of gravitational waves was just the start of a "terrifically exciting" journey.
"The fact that we are sitting here on Earth feeling the actual fabric of the Universe stretch and compress slightly due to the merger of black holes that occurred just over a billion years ago - I think that's phenomenal. It's amazing that when we first turned on our detectors, the Universe was ready and waiting to say 'hello'," the Glasgow University scientist told the BBC.
Being able to detect gravitational waves enables astronomers finally to probe what they call "dark Universe" - the majority part of the cosmos that is invisible to the light telescopes in use today.
Perfect probeNot only will they be able to investigate black holes and strange objects known as neutron stars (giant suns that have collapsed to the size of cities), they should also be able to "look" much deeper into the Universe - and thus farther back in time. It may even be possible eventually to sense the moment of the Big Bang.
"Gravitational waves go through everything. They are hardly affected by what they pass through, and that means that they are perfect messengers," said Prof Bernard Schutz, from Cardiff University, UK.
"The information carried on the gravitational wave is exactly the same as when the system sent it out; and that is unusual in astronomy. We can't see light from whole regions of our own galaxy because of the dust that is in the way, and we can't see the early part of the Big Bang because the Universe was opaque to light earlier than a certain time.
"With gravitational waves, we do expect eventually to see the Big Bang itself," he told the BBC.
In addition, the study of gravitational waves may ultimately help scientists in their quest to solve some of the biggest problems in physics, such as the unification of forces, linking quantum theory with gravity.
At the moment, the General Relativity describes the cosmos on the largest scales tremendously well, but it is to quantum ideas that we resort when talking about the smallest interactions. Being able to study places in the Universe where gravity is extreme, such as at black holes, may open a path to new, more complete thinking on these issues.
- A laser is fed into the machine and its beam is split along two paths
- The separate paths bounce back and forth between damped mirrors
- Eventually, the two light parts are recombined and sent to a detector
- Gravitational waves passing through the lab should disturb the set-up
- Theory holds they should very subtly stretch and squeeze its space
- This ought to show itself as a change in the lengths of the light arms (green)
- The photodetector captures this signal in the recombined beam
Scientists have sought experimental evidence for gravitational waves for more than 40 years.
Einstein himself actually thought a detection might be beyond the reach of technology.
His theory of General Relativity suggests that objects such as stars and planets can warp space around them - in the same way that a billiard ball creates a dip when placed on a thin, stretched, rubber sheet.
Gravity is a consequence of that distortion - objects will be attracted to the warped space in the same way that a pea will fall in to the dip created by the billiard ball.
Inspirational momentEinstein predicted that if the gravity in an area was changed suddenly - by an exploding star, say - waves of gravitational energy would ripple across the Universe at light-speed, stretching and squeezing space as they travelled.
Although a fantastically small effect, modern technology has now risen to the challenge.
Much of the R&D work for the Washington and Louisiana machines was done at Europe's smaller GEO600 interferometer in Hannover.
"I think it's phenomenal to be able to build an instrument capable of measuring [gravitational waves]," said Prof Rowan.
"It is hugely exciting for a whole generation of young people coming along, because these kinds of observations and this real pushing back of the frontiers is really what inspires a lot of young people to get into science and engineering."
|Off the port bow.|
WHY IT MATTERS.
The Universe is not composed how we thought it was:Finite objects moving through space.
It actually is more like a pool.
And gravity - is the relation between objects in that pool.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY:
We are all molecules in the pool. So what happens on one side of the pool effects the other side of the pool. We are energy. The pool is composed of energy. So if one side of the pool has a bad attitude, it affects our side of the pool.
But we can combat that bad attitude with our own tool of choice: consciousness. We can affect the rest of the pool by focusing our energy into something that's the opposite of the bad attitude.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
If Tonglen - the Tibetan meditation studied by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin is an actual cure or can alleviate the symptoms of depression - THAT MEANS that by mental imagining, we can CHANGE OUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
Let me say that again.
By using a meditation - and Tonglen is the one that was studied, we can alter the physical structure of our brain - specifically the amgydala, which Davidson's study showed "even one session" of meditation could change the shape of this small part of the brain that retains depression.
So if mental processes can change the shape of the amygdala - then mental processes can affect other areas of the body.
Like a wave.
And by extension - even though THERE'S NO EVIDENCE that mental processes - meditation, etc change those things on the outside of the body, it follows that like a ripple, or like a wave, it eventually will change the energy outside of the brain.
So - meditating on the good health of someone else (a Tonglen concept) helps us... and there's a possibility that it MIGHT help someone else.
The universe is a big pool of energy.
Which is exactly what I saw when I had my own "out of body" experience. I don't call it a near death experience because I was lying in my bed - I had an awful cold, so I don't think I died, but here is what happened to my consciousness. (It's not unlike what people experience in near death observations, but was years prior to my Flipside research)
As I was drifting off to sleep I felt myself DISSOLVE.
I was conscious of myself dissolving into a SEA OF ATOMS. I can only call it that, because I was aware of myself turning into a shimmering blob of light - and it was golden. And it was like a thousand fireflies in my mind, and a tingling sensation of utter joy and connectedness. Overwhelming that I was going to faint from the joy.
But I consciously thought "I need to expore this! What is this?" So my conscious mind still existed within this framework to allow me to want to explore. And I willed myself to continue to be "awake" as it took effort not to pass out. I saw this eddy of golden light move and dissipate - and then as if looking from one end of a pool, I saw that there was this giant vast sea of energy all around me.
And then as if looking out into the vast pool of light, I saw this small cloud of dark or gray light coming towards me - and instantly understood that to be a small blot of negativity - coming my way. I was aware that this was how "negative thoughts" - directed at me, or directed somehow towards me find their way into your consciousness.
But as I saw the gray light coming towards me, instead of fear, (which was my first option, as in "oh no, what's this?") I chose to think a positive thought... and it was right out of a special effects moment - I thought "I can defeat that negativity with a burst of positive thought" - and all the atoms of water in this vast pool around me suddenly began to glow, and rushed out like a giant colored pool of ink - a golden light that engulfed and dissipated the dark light - as far as the eye could see.
The next thing I observed is that I was "outside of time." I observed that I was looking back at the earth from a perspective outside of it - and saw it as a circular time frame. So that if I put my finger in one side of the globe, it might be in the 8th century, and if I put my finger on the other side, it might be yesterday - and so therefore I could be simultaneously in both places at once. Because I was outside of time.
Then I observed that wherever there was a photograph of myself - of Richard - no matter what age, no matter where on the planet, I could easily move to that object. As if the photo itself had captured my essence, or time - like a piece of a hologram contains all the elements of the larger picture - and I found myself visiting an attic of a relative where a box of photos existed with myself in them, and then into someone's wallet where there existed a photo of us in our youth, etc...
So wherever a photograph existed of myself it was like a portal - I could more easily access it because it contained a reference point for me to access.
If this vision is accurate, then I would recommend whenever you want to speak to a loved one who is not longer on the planet, to take out a photograph of them and address it in present tense. Ask a question, or make a comment and see if perhaps they are able to respond. Either with the first thought that comes into your mind, or by some event that happens during the day, or coming week that reminds you of something about that person.
It's their way of responding.
And finally, ask them a question you don't know the answer to. (I always ask for lottery numbers, and I almost always get a laugh). But some detail in your life that only this person would know - and will prove that they not only still exist, but are aware of what you're wrestling with.
A long way of saying, "Thanks Albert!"
What's funny is that it relates to this video that I happened to catch the other day. (two black holes traveling through the universe, that collide)