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Gravitational Waves Discovery Has Deep UT Connections

Gravitational Waves Discovery Has Deep UT Connections

The recent detection of gravitational waves at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which is partially led by executive director and University of Texas at Austin alumnus David Reitze, has even deeper roots at UT Austin.

The gravitational waves come as a resounding validation for Einstein's Theory of Relativity, says the director of the Center for Relativity at UT Austin, Richard Matzner, in a segment with Time Warner News

Einstein's theory predicts the bending of space and time by mass as shown in the above video put out by LIGO, where two black holes are shown orbiting and merging. Mathematically, the equations which Einstein formulated also predict that such an event should send out ripples in space and time, like a water droplet falling on a pond, meaning such a strong event should create waves. Although it was Einstein himself who predicted gravitational waves, the Austin American-Statesman reports that it was UT Austin mathematician Roy Kerr who was able to make the mathematics of spinning objects, like black holes, fit with Einstein's equations in the 1960's

It wasn't until the 1970's when scientists, led by UT Austin Ph.D. alum Larry Smarr, would come to realize the promise of using supercomputer simulations to get numerical results from the traditionally theoretical domain of Relativity. HPC Wire reports on Smarr's breakthrough calculations relating to the collision of black holes, which led to the modern supercomputer work which allowed LIGO to makes its discovery.

With this remarkable discovery may come new theoretical and experimental breakthroughs in physics, including the possibility of telescopes powered by gravity waves, say UT physicists  Karl Gebhardt and Willy Fischler, in a story published by FOX-7 Austin. Tim Andeen, a UT Austin physics professor who helped find the Higgs Boson in 2012, tells the Guardian that now we must continue to look for all sorts of new physics in the universe, maybe even aided by telescopes powered by the newly discovered gravitational waves.

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Comments 1

Guest - Maria Woodall on Friday, 19 February 2016 09:38

This is very interesting! Thank you for the information!

This is very interesting! Thank you for the information!
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