The first-ever detection of gravitational waves, which scientists could announce on Thursday, would open a new window on the universe and its most violent phenomena.
Scientists will hold a press conference on Thursday to discuss the latest in their hunt for these waves, whose existence Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity 100 years ago, according to a statement from the National Science Foundation, which has funded the research.
Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) who have been working on the detection of these waves for years will participate.
Press conferences are also simultaneously scheduled at Paris’s National Center for Science Research (CNRS) and also in London.
The announcement of a press conference revived rumors that have been circulating in the scientific community for months that the LIGO team may have indeed directly detected gravitational waves for the first time.
These waves are produced by disturbances in the fabric of space and time when a massive object moves, like a black hole or a neutron star.
Einstein theorized that they would appear like ripples in a pond that form when a stone is thrown in the water, or like a net that bows under the weight of an object placed within — with the net serving as a metaphor for the bending of space-time.
According to the rumors, the team may have observed the collision of two black holes and their fusion — leading to the detection of gravitational waves.
The ability to observe these gravitational waves would offer astronomer and physicists a new look at the most mysterious workings of the universe, including the fusion of neutron stars and the behaviours of black holes, which are often found in the centers of galaxies.
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