Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Looking for ripples in spacetime 

Once upon a time I would have called myself an engineer, but I’m in two minds about that epithet now. Although engineering can be useful, I don’t often get excited about it. But then people aren’t creating devices like this every day.

Take two lumps of metal, free-float them in space 3 million miles apart, and measure any changes in the distance between them to an accuracy of one-tenth of the size of an atom. Challenging? You bet.

If you’re at all scientifically inclined, it’s well worth a scan across the many pages of the site describing the project, intended directly to detect ripples in spacetime (a.k.a. gravitational waves, but don't ripples in spacetime sound so much more appealing as objects of study?).

Maybe what I’m most in awe of is that someone, somewhere had the audacity to believe the impossible and then to make it happen.

(Found via APOD)

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