Indian heads project to prove Einstein’s prediction

May 7, 2013 by

Source: Times of India

LONDON: Albert Einstein’s 100-year-old theory of relativity may finally be proved in the next five years.

An Indian astronomer at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena is heading a global project which is poised to discover proof that space and time can wrinkle in the form of gravitational waves. These waves were predicted by Einstein but have never been seen.

Mansi M Kasliwal, originally from Indore ( Madhya Pradesh), told TOI from California that astronomers from India, Japan and the United States are jointly embarking on a hunt for gravitational waves starting with building one of the world’s most advanced interferometers in Louisiana, Italy to detect waves produced by black holes or hugely explosive events like merging neutron stars—similar to ripples from a stone thrown into a pond.

To measure the signals, an interferometric detector is required that can detect strain to a billionth of a nanometer for a kilometer-length interferometer.

Such extreme gravity events are also rare, occurring only once every 10,000 years per galaxy. Astronomers hope to detect these waves and once they pick up on those tiny fluctuations in space-time as they reach Earth, they’ll want to know where they originated.

She told TOI gravity is responsible for the “long range order of the universe”.

Kasliwal said “Using Einstein’s general relativity, we now think of gravity as the geometrical curvature of the four-dimensional fabric of space-time. Extreme cosmological events such as the merging of neutron stars or black holes induce ripples in the fabric of space-time. However, these ripples, or gravitational waves, are extremely weak, and their detection has remained elusive.”

She added an advanced version of such a detector is being designed to find gravitational waves on a regular basis (roughly tens of events annually) beginning in 2017.

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