David Reitze, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory, took the podium at the National Press Building in Washington, DC, this morning, and said the words we’ve all been waiting on tenterhooks to hear: “We have discovered gravitational waves.” And a packed auditorium in Caltech’s Cahill building in Pasadena—where…
The rumors were true! This morning leaders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves. In honor of this momentous discovery, the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, is hosting a live webcast today at 1pm EST: “Ripple Effects: A…
It’s official: we’ve directly detected gravitational waves. And unless you happen to be a PhD physicist, you probably have a few questions. Gizmodo is here to help.
Excited rumors began circulating on Twitter this morning that a major experiment designed to hunt for gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime first predicted by Albert Einstein—has observed them directly for the very first time. If confirmed, this would be one of the most significant physics discoveries…
Perhaps you’ve noticed all the fuss this week over Albert Einstein and his famous general theory of relativity, which turned 100 years old. Who better to give you a glimpse into what the theory is all about than a Time Lord — the Tenth Doctor himself?
Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is beautiful, elegant, and a golden standard of, “This is what complex physics looks like.” To celebrate the centennial of its publication, the Perimeter Institute put together an alphabetic primer of lessons and trivia to bring you up to speed.
Somebody's going to win a Nobel Prize. At least that's what the physics community is saying after the announcement on Monday that a Harvard team has found the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation right after the Big Bang. It's more proof that the Big Bang really was the beginning of it all.
The going theory among cosmologists is that the universe will eventually rip itself to shreds owing to its ever-accelerating rate of expansion. Not so, say a pair of physicists who have just taken it upon themselves to reformulate an integral facet of general relativity: the cosmological constant.
Falling into a black hole never sounded like fun. How could it? Black holes are the darkest places in the universe, where not even light can escape the singularity's immense gravitational pull. It wouldn't be fun. But what, exactly, would happen?
Too often relativity is confined to space ships and interplanetary travel. It's time to dive and see what weird ideas relativity can bring to us from beneath the sea.
Despite our successes at describing the inner workings of the universe (Higgs, anyone?), there are still some gaping holes in our knowledge. Where's our Grand Unified Theory or our Theory of Everything? And why is Einstein's General Relativity still at odds with Quantum Mechanics? Why should we want to unify them…
In Einstein's universe, spacetime is supposed to be some crazy rubber sheet full of folds and bends. But the idea of curved space is not the most intuitive in the world. And what does light have to do with any of this? In this week's Ask a Physicist, we'll find out.
Called LARES, this tiny — but remarkably heavy — satellite both looks and acts like a disco ball. By bouncing lasers off its reflectors, Italian researchers are hoping to prove Einstein’s conjecture that the Earth warps space-time as it rotates.
There are a couple of reasons why people react with puzzlement to ideas like General Relativity. The idea of "spacetime" is difficult enough to picture, without talk about the idea that mass distorts it the way a bowling ball distorts a trampoline. (Note to self: Promote trampoline bowling as the world's new most…
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a…
The equivalence principle is one of the fundamental concepts behind gravitational theory and general relativity, and holds that gravity exerts the same force on objects of different mass.
Gravity forces galaxies that are relatively close together to form clusters, which in turn form superclusters between vast stretches of cosmic void. But now there's an even bigger level of organization...and we have no idea how to explain it.
General relativity and quantum mechanics are the twin foundations of modern physics, but there's a problem: they're mutually exclusive, at least according to our current understanding. A new model using loop quantum gravity might have the beginnings of a solution.