Um..."[Gravity waves] One of the greatest discoveries in the history of science." Comments, anybody?

Gravity waves.

I mean, talk to me, physicists of SD. This is Uh Historic Moment, right?

No, I have no specific question, MR./Ms. Moderator. If required I’ll gin one up.

As one of the comments stated (from the article), it would be wise to wait for independent confirmation from another instrument, then celebrate.

But go on with the cosmological speculation. I do find it interesting.

Thread title edited to indicate subject.

General Questions Moderator

It would probably help to have specific question, but here’s my take: Inflation was a theoretical explanation for some of the things we’ve observed, but it wasn’t based on any direct observations or experiments. So now there are gravity waves being detected (well, the infra-red variations caused by those waves) that provide additional evidence that inflation is what really happened.

In a way, it’s significant… but on the other hand, I’m not sure it expands our understanding of things much. Inflation was pretty much the leading theory out there and pretty much accepted by most scientists. Confirmation of it is nice, but it’s more ground-affirming than it is ground-breaking.

Ultimately it looks like we’ll have to wait to see if the new measurements can provide any new information to the inflation model, but this article doesn’t seem to be mentioning anything specific now.

Confirming what you believe may be true is always much better than having no confirmation at all.

Now…can we work on figuring out Dark Energy, please?

Except that the inflation hypothesis was more like “here is a really crazy, way-out hypothesis submitted with zero evidence which, if it happens to be true, would explain the nature of the observable universe, which nothing else can explain.”

To see actual evidence of it is more than “affirming”, it’s awesome, just like the very probable detection of the Higgs boson. The fascination of quantum physics to me is the following two-step process: Step 1 is “the only way to explain these observations is to propose a completely crazy, totally counter-intuitive hypothesis which, if you really believed or understood it, would qualify you for admission to a lunatic asylum.” Step 2 is “and here is the proof that it’s true.” :slight_smile:

I want my anti-gravity! I’m an American and I have a right to float above the rest of you!

It’s very cool.

The one thing I don’t understand is how these waves, which apparently formed from the big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, are still propagating. How is that possible? They move at the speed of light. Shouldn’t they be far past us? I don’t understand how they’re just reaching us now.

The ones that were here at that time are now far past us. The ones we’re receiving now were very far away when they were produced. The Big Bang happened everywhere, and all locations look pretty much the same.

And contrary to what the edited title and the article says, this is not a direct detection of gravitational waves, just yet another indirect detection (we’ve already had several of those). It’s not even an unexpected sort of detection: Everyone expected that once we had instruments capable of precisely measuring the polarization of the CMB, that we would see something very much like this, and that’s why we made such instruments. This entire article, other than the names and dates, could have been written way back when this experiment was proposed, and just kept in storage until now.

Now, when we do actually directly detect gravitational waves, that will give us a wealth of new information that we don’t currently know or suspect, and then we’ll get some real news. At the very least, there are a number of “known unknowns”, questions like how many white dwarf binaries there are in the Milky Way, that they’ll answer for us. And it would be absolutely astonishing if there weren’t also many “unknown unknowns” waiting for us, with an entirely new spectrum to explore.

What are you going to do with dark energy, it doesn’t get you anywhere though it may look good on your work desk like a lava lamp or a snow globe. Now negative mass, that’s the ticket laddy. Anti-gravity, inertial nullification, warp drive and stable wormholes.

I’m not saying this isn’t an important discovery, but is it really greater that, say, Evolution, Calculus or Euler’s number? I guess it depends on what we mean by “greatest”, because it can be argued that the discovery of the phases of Venus was the greatest leap in human scientific knowledge, indeed it can be argued that this discovery initiated the Age of Science.

I’m sorry, but outside cosmology, this runs a little mundane.

As noted, it’s a big deal because it provides the first direct evidence supporting a theory about the beginnings of the universe. And it’s not a big deal, because the newly found evidence shows pretty much just what we expected.

The Bad Astronomer has a decent lay-person post about it.

Here’s a video of cosmologist Andrei Linde hearing the news of this discovery.

You forgot longer flight distance for your golf balls.

Just don’t walk through awake.

In the NY Times piece on the topic, they said:

How does cosmic inflation to lead to the multiverse?

Personally, I’d just like to see how Ken Ham spins this. “We have the same evidence and interpret it differently”. LOL.

EDIT: Should’ve just gone to look.

Christ, that was boring. They don’t have anything interesting to say any more? I mean, at least they used to be interesting. Now it’s pretty much just “Nuh-uh!”

Yeah, they’re not even trying now. How about the gravity waves are the vibrations from God’s ass hitting the chair when he sat down to rest on the seventh day? A little hand-waving, and yup, calculations show it should have taken 6000 years to reach us. Proof!

Paraphrased for my own amusement:

"For many years the mountains and mountains of evidence that continue to show our current inflationary model of the big bang not only seem to be accurate and are making all the right predictions, but fit in neatly with that which we directly observe.

However, I’ve spent years trying to shoehorn this book brimming with contradictions and nonsense to make the cosmology I’d like to believe in—and God Himself insists you believe in—to be the reality for some unknown, arbitrary reason now.

These new observations only continue to bolster what the scientists have been saying were right, however, if we continue to deny reality, and hope bigger than we’ve ever hoped before, we can convince not only ourselves, but everyone else in our delusions. Amen."

Well sure that would be an explanation. It’s why we see light from far away galaxies just reaching us now.

However, it seems there’s a difference. The light from galaxies is being produced continuously. But I thought the gravity waves are from the big bang. They were apparently produced almost 14 billion yrs ago. If they’re being produced continuously then only the first ones made long, long ago would be a byproduct of the BB. Not the ones we’re detecting today.

Am I incorrect?