Gravitational Waves

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Submitted By blahblaq
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GRAVITATIONAL WAVES, HOW CLOSE ARE WE?
PHSCS 222 Collective Paper November 23, 1999 #123 #272 #666 #895

The Detection of Gravitational Waves, How Close Are We?

Since the realization that the general theory of relativity predicts gravitational waves, there have been attempts to actually detect these waves. Indirect observations have been made that support their existence but no direct measurement. This paper gives a brief explanation of gravitational waves and discusses the current condition of the experimental search for gravitational waves. It deals with the newest techniques that will enable their detection. The focus of the paper is on three experimental groups: LIGO, VIRGO, and LISA. From our research of these groups we believe that the detection of gravitational waves will occur within the next decade.

2

The Detection of Gravitational Waves, How Close Are We? Einstein's general theory of relativity was published in 1915.1 Since that time many of the predictions derived from the theory have been experimentally observed. Three main examples are the bending of light by gravity, the red-shift of light traveling in a gravitational field, and the precession of Mercury. Einstein's theory has been credibly established because of observations like these. There are still other predictions that have yet to be observed. The detection of gravitational waves is one of these predictions. It was discovered in 1916 that the general theory of relativity predicts the existence of gravitational waves. “Gravitational waves are perturbations in the curvature of spacetime propagating with the velocity of light. They are caused by accelerating masses.”2 In order to understand the concept of a gravitational wave it is helpful to understand gravity as explained by the general theory of relativity. Relativity does not analyze gravity in terms of forces and acceleration as in…...

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