Livingston Parish plays key role in galactic discovery confirmed Thursday
LIVINGSTON - It's almost unimaginable to think a seven-mile drive north of I-12 and the Livingston exit will take you to the home of where scientists have proven a 100-year-old scientific phenomenon.
Thursday, scientists from across the country gathered at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in Livingston and via an internet connection to share with the World they have detected gravitational waves. The discovery is essential to Albert Einstein's relativity theory, CNN wrote in a preview of the announcement Wednesday. It will also help scientists understand the universe.
"The discovery of gravitational waves is, I think, the most important breakthrough in modern science," Szabolcs Marka, a physics professor at Columbia University, told CNN.
All week, LIGO - a two-facility system constructed to detect incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves - has been promoting Thursday's big announcement. LSU and Southern have scientists that are part of the research and each school issued news releases this week about the event. WBRZ.com first reported the story Wednesday afternoon.
"We could see the universe, but with Advanced LIGO we will also hear it," Marka said in a report on CNN.com.
The Louisiana LIGO center is about 1,865 miles from the other facility in Hanford, Washington. Both were conceived and built by MIT and Caltech researchers funded by the National Science Foundation, with significant contributions from other U.S. and international partners.
The Livingston facility is nondescript, located in forest at the end of a winding road off Weiss Road and Highway 190.
In the early 1900s, Einstein determined massive objects cause a distortion in space-time and it is felt as gravity. Space.com explains more HERE.
"Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed," LSU wrote in a news release about the discovery.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz