“The years of searching in the dark for a truth that one feels but cannot express, the intense desire and the alternations of confidence and misgiving until one breaks through to clarity and understanding, are only known to him who has himself experienced them.” -Albert Einstein
In 2015, for the very first time, gravitational waves were directly detected from the merger of two massive black holes. These ripples in space traveled over a billion light years before they were finally detected. When they were, it validated Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in an entirely new fashion, and proved the physical existence of a phenomenon that was doubted even by Einstein himself.
Computer simulation of two merging black holes producing gravitational waves. Image credit: Werner Benger, cc by-sa 4.0.
In a stunningly well-researched and well-written book, Ripples In Spacetime, award-winning science writer Govert Schilling takes us on a journey that not only details how these waves came to be detected, but it puts the entire story in historical and scientific context. The past, present, and future of gravitational wave astronomy, plus what it means for humanity and the scientific endeavor, is brilliantly discussed.
An artist’s impression of the three LISA spacecraft ...