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Gravitational waves detected

Gravitational waves
Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam, Germany
Gravitational waves

© Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam, Germany

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Cardiff University’s Gravitational Physics Group, have directly observed gravitational waves for the first time.

These tiny ripples in space-time are emitted as a result of violent cosmic events, and their detection is the final piece of the jigsaw to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. This discovery will allow Einstein’s theories to be tested further, and give researchers a new window to observe extreme cosmic events that are occurring in the Universe.

Professor Mark Hannam, from Cardiff University’s Gravitational Physics Group, explained: “This observation has confirmed so many things that we guessed, but didn’t know for sure – that black holes exist with many tens of times the mass of the sun, and so do black-hole binaries. This has transformed our understanding of the universe, but is just the beginning.”

The detection of gravitational waves has since made a ground-breaking impact across the globe and has put Cardiff University at the centre of gravitational study. Researcher Chinmay Kalaghatgi (Physics & Astronomy 2015-) said: “It feels great to be part of such a high-profile project.”