Yesterday, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) found qualitative proof of the existence of gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of the space-time continuum. Scientists were able to listen to the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light years away, thereby offering solid evidence to support Albert Einstein’s 1915 theory of relativity. And an Argentine was part of the discovery.
Doctor Gabriela González, a physicist and LIGO’s spokesperson since 2011, hails from Córdoba and is currently a professor at the University of Louisiana. She earned her doctorate in Physics at the University of Syracuse in 1995, and later that year began her work at the Center for Space Research at MIT. Her team’s discovery offered concrete proof of a phenomenon whose existence has long been suspected, but never observed.
Speaking on LIGO’s behalf, González stated that, “We know the universe a little better now; we know that there are black holes that collide and form larger ones.” After receiving a standing ovation for the announcement, González added, “We’re all crazy happy. Einstein would be very glad.”
And how often does anyone get to say that?
If you have absolutely no idea what this discovery actually (really) means, we’re in the same boat. Something we can all understand is that the existence of gravitational waves has huge implications for our understanding of the universe, and saying “space-time continuum” to your date after they’ve had a couple drinks will boost your perceived IQ by at least 10 points.
The existence of ripples in space-time theoretically gives scientists the ability to see deeply into our universe’s past. People have also been saying that we might be able to build a time machine now, but probably not in time to unsend that text or actually remember to take your debit card out of that ATM.