Andrews University Agenda http://www.andrews.edu/agenda/ News and Events at Andrews University en-us Copyright 2017, Andrews University Sun, 19 Nov 2017 16:34:00 -0000 Sun, 19 Nov 2017 16:34:00 -0000 webmaster@andrews.edu webmaster@andrews.edu Andrews Professor Helps Find Gravitational Waves http://www.andrews.edu/agenda/40590 <p> Andrews University, along with the rest of the world, was on pins and needles this morning as we awaited the announcement from the <a href="http://www.ligo.org/" target="_blank">Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory</a> (LIGO) and the <a href="http://www.nsf.gov/" target="_blank">National Science Foundation</a> that they had discovered a way to detect and measure gravitational waves.</p> <p> However, unlike most of the rest of the world, we waited alongside one of the LIGO scientists who worked to make that a reality.</p> <p> <a href="https://www.andrews.edu/cas/physics/faculty/summerscales_tiffany.html">Tiffany Summerscales</a>, associate professor of <a href="http://www.andrews.edu/physics">physics at Andrews University</a>, is one of 1,000 researchers from various locations around the world who has been studying gravity and how to prove a theory Einstein posited a century ago. She&rsquo;s been working with the project since 2000 when she began her graduate research.</p> <p> Summerscales explains the basis of this research, saying, &ldquo;Einstein&rsquo;s theory of general relativity posits that mass curves space-time. When the distribution of mass changes, the curvature must also change and that change spreads outwards through space like the ripples on a pond. These ripples, also called gravitational waves, are very faint. Only the most significant events in the universe, like a supernova (an explosion that briefly outshines an entire galaxy), or massive objects are capable of producing gravitational waves of measureable strength.&rdquo;</p> <p> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/science/ligo-gravitational-waves-black-holes-einstein.html?_r=0">The New York Times</a>&nbsp;proclaims that these physicists&mdash;Summerscales and her LIGO colleagues&mdash;&ldquo;can now count themselves as astronomers&rdquo; as they report that they have heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away. &ldquo;A fleeting chip that fulfilled the last prophecy of Einstein&rsquo;s general theory of relativity,&rdquo; says NYT reporter Dennis Overbye.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35524440">The BBC</a>&nbsp;calls this work &ldquo;a stunning discovery,&rdquo; and quotes Sheila Rowan, Glasgow University professor and a lead UK researcher involved with the project: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s amazing that when we first turned on our detectors, the Universe was ready and waiting to say &lsquo;hello.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;The announcement is the climax of a century of speculation, 50 years of trial and error, and 25 years perfecting a set of instruments so sensitive they could identify a distortion in space-time a thousandth the diameter of one atomic nucleus across a 4km strip of laser beam and mirror,&rdquo; says Tim Radford in his story for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/feb/11/gravitational-waves-discovery-hailed-as-breakthrough-of-the-century">The Guardian</a>.</p> <p> In a statement made by David Reitze, executive director of LIGO, today at a press conference in Washington, D.C., we learn that &ldquo;the gravitational waves&mdash;ripples in space-time&mdash;were created by the merging of two black holes. One black hole had the mass of 29 suns; the other was the equivalent of 36 suns. Each was perhaps 50 kilometers (30 miles) in diameter,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/11/us/gravitational-waves-feat/">CNN reported</a>.</p> <p> CNN reporter Todd Leopold shared in his article that the gravitational waves stretched and compressed space around Earth &ldquo;like Jell-O&rdquo; (quoting Reitze). However, these &ldquo;waves are so small it takes a detector like LIGO, capable of measuring distortions one-thousandth the size of a proton, to observe them.&rdquo;</p> <p> These waves were observed on September 14, 2015.</p> <p> &ldquo;Scientists heard the sound of the black holes colliding as a &lsquo;chirp&rsquo; lasting one-fifth of a second,&rdquo; reports CNN. &ldquo;Though gravitational waves aren't sound waves, the increase in frequency the collision exhibited in its last milliseconds&mdash;when the black holes were mere kilometers apart and growing closer&mdash;is a frequency we can hear, said Deirdre Shoemaker, a Georgia Tech physicist who works on LIGO.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li> Read the <a href="http://www.andrews.edu/agenda/39557">full story of Summerscales&rsquo; involvement in this amazing groundbreaking LIGO project</a> in an original story published on Andrews.edu in November 2015</li> <li> For details on LIGO, visit <a href="http://www.ligo.org">ligo.org</a>.</li> <li> Learn below about the sound of two black holes colliding, and what gravitational waves are in layman's terms</li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <!-- 16:9 aspect ratio --></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" class="embed-responsive-item" frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/egfBaUdnAyQ?rel=0"></iframe></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <br /> <div id="fb-root"> &nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="1" data-href="/verge/videos/vb.193742123995472/1035654389804237/?type=3"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/verge/videos/1035654389804237/"> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/verge/videos/1035654389804237/">Scientists prove gravitational waves</a> <p> How scientists finally confirmed Einstein&rsquo;s theory of gravitational waves.</p> </blockquote> </div> </div> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:39:45 +0000