So What’s the Significance?
Gravitational waves have much significance, even if we don’t realize it yet. New discoveries always shape the way we look at things and how we see our universe, possibly bringing about more new discoveries. They also change our ways of thinking, starting inventive ideas that could shape history.
Gravitational waves also could tell us about the early universe. Shoemaker is thrilled with all the possibilities and implications. “Imagine having never been able to hear before and all you could do is see,” she says. “Now we can listen to the universe where we were deaf before. It’s a different spectrum (from the electromagnetic spectrum). It’s unlike anything we’ve ever detected before.”
“What’s really exciting is what comes next,” Reitze continued at the announcement. “I think we’re opening a window to the universe–a window of gravitational wave astronomy.”
Columbia University physicist Marka thought this was a great way to make physicists come up with new theories or more ways to test Einstein’s general theory. “A physicist is always looking for a flaw in a theory. And the only way to find a flaw is to test it,” Marka told CNN. “Einstein’s theory did not present any flaws to us yet, and that is really scary. Physicists are very (skeptical) of flawless theories because then we have nothing to do.”
Einstein thought gravitational waves were real, but he had his doubts, just like others in the scientific community. “He thought gravitational waves are a beautiful construct, but they are so small nobody would ever be able to actually measure it,” said Marka.