Wavy Wednesday


Caltech physicists Barry Barish, left, and Kip Thorne celebrate their Nobel Prize for the LIGO experiment at a party at the university. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

THE WAY THE Nobel Committee tells it, the story of this year’s physics prize begins like a certain 1970s space opera.
“Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two massive black holes engaged in a deadly dance,” said physicist and Nobel committee member Olga Botner at today’s prize announcement. The pair spiraled toward each other, colliding to form an even bigger black hole with a mass 62 times that of Earth’s sun. The impact shook the universe, generating ripples known as gravitational waves that warped the fabric of spacetime as they pulsed through.

By the time the collision’s reverberations reached Earth, they had quieted to a quiver. Some 1.3 billion years after that ferocious black hole do-si-do, physicists at two observatories in the US simultaneously detected a ripple as a tiny compression and expansion in length in their machines. This first detection of a gravitational wave took four decades of calculations, simulations, and engineering—and more than a billion dollars of US taxpayer money. Today, physicists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the pioneering work that led to this discovery. They’ll split 9 million Swedish krona in prize money, or 1.1 million dollars; Weiss will receive half the prize while Barish and Thorne will split the other half.


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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22 Responses to Wavy Wednesday

  1. Micki says:


    “I view this more as a thing that recognizes the work of about 1,000 people, a really dedicated effort that’s been going on for—I hate to tell you—as long as 40 years,” said Weiss in a phone call with journalists at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Along with Weiss and Thorne, Ronald Drever, who died this March, also led the development of the first detector prototypes. The Nobel Committee, however, limits the award to three people at most, and they must be still living.


  2. Micki says:

    Woke up to 37ºF according to my trusty Oregon Scientific.

    Bright and sunny!


    • David B. Benson says:

      37 °F

      Note the required space after the number according to SI.


      • Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

        The F in unnecessary. Americans don’t use centigrade.


        • David B. Benson says:

          Nobody uses Centigrade. The SI standard is “degrees celsius” or else “kelvin”. The abbreviation for the former is °C and for the latter, K. There is a required space between the number and the symbol.

          Every scientists uses these. Engineers also use “degrees Fahrenheit”. Note the required degree symbol and the lack of a space before the F or C.


  3. Den says:

    Seeing a laser inferometer being used here reminds me of my days as a laser tech. making inferometers to double distance and fine calibration of self-leveling lasers, also used a beam-splitter with a reference beam and a laser output to check calibration of level.


  4. Micki says:

    More corporate BS, blaming the underlings, claiming they did their best…blah blah blah…”fired” these days means a severance package in the millions of $$$$$$$. Oh, such punishment!


  5. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Running the A/C again today. This morning I opened every window, cool breezes blowing in, cloudy really nice morning. By 10:00 I had the A/C on because the humidity at 9:00 when Bob’s nurse was here was 68%. I can’t take the humidity like I used to, and I have to get the water out of the air to help Bob’s breathing.


  6. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Looks like Trump’s people have called him a moron. I call him that every day, lol.


  7. David B. Benson says:

    Puerto Ricans are second-class citizens, it seems.


  8. David B. Benson says:

    Thirteen again. Maybe my problem the past few days was a small ulcer. Anyway, better today.


    • David B. Benson says:

      After hanging @ the Hillside Cafe for some time, off to a fine band and symphonic wind ensemble concert and then home for a daily total of 32 minutes. After the concert chatted briefly with Alice and then Abigail. Abigail is using the bassoon my funds made possible to acquire. So between Abigail’s talent and the best student bassoon, that part of the symphonic wind ensemble concert was extraordinary.

      Day 4: 151+32=183 minutes.


  9. David B. Benson says:

    Micki — McMorris-Rogers emails that she’ll keep my views in mind if the Palliative Care Act comes before the committee. Noncommittal.


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