LIGO's Gravitational Wave Discovery Is Still In Question, But Why?

LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves rocked the world of physics. But now, some scientists are questioning their methods. Here’s what you need to know.

 

In 2015, scientists observed gravitational waves. For the first time ever, we could actually ‘see’ the distortion of space-time as it reacted to huge events in space, like the collision of black holes. This was one of the most exciting physics discoveries of our age, and the team involved were even awarded the Nobel Prize in physics last year. So why is this discovery now being called into question?

Some scientists are now questioning the methods used at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, which we all commonly know as LIGO, where gravitational waves were first observed. Detecting gravitational waves is really tough, which is one of the reasons why it was such a big deal. When black holes, for instance, collide with each other, they can merge, and in that merging process, some of the energy of that collision is released into the universe as gravitational radiation. This is essentially a ripple that distorts the earth by about the width of an atomic nucleus. So you can see why it was impressive when the LIGO Scientific Collaboration said they were able to detect this wave.

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