The Detection of Gravitational Waves
Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: MIT Press
View: 7691Scientists have been trying to confirm the existence of gravitational waves for fifty years. Then, in September 2015, came a "very interesting event" (as the cautious subject line in a physicist's email read) that proved to be the first detection of gravitational waves. In Gravity's Kiss, Harry Collins -- who has been watching the science of gravitational wave detection for forty-three of those fifty years and has written three previous books about it -- offers a final, fascinating account, written in real time, of the unfolding of one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries ever made. Predicted by Einstein in his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves carry energy from the collision or explosion of stars. Dying binary stars, for example, rotate faster and faster around each other until they merge, emitting a burst of gravitational waves. It is only with the development of extraordinarily sensitive, highly sophisticated detectors that physicists can now confirm Einstein's prediction. This is the story that Collins tells.Collins, a sociologist of science who has been embedded in the gravitational wave community since 1972, traces the detection, the analysis, the confirmation, and the public presentation and the reception of the discovery -- from the first email to the final published paper and the response of professionals and the public. Collins shows that science today is collaborative, far-flung (with the physical location of the participants hardly mattering), and sometimes secretive, but still one of the few institutions that has integrity built into it.
The Search for Gravitational Waves
Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
View: 1100According to the theory of relativity, we are constantly bathed in gravitational radiation. When stars explode or collide, a portion of their mass becomes energy that disturbs the very fabric of the space-time continuum like ripples in a pond. But proving the existence of these waves has been difficult; the cosmic shudders are so weak that only the most sensitive instruments can be expected to observe them directly. Fifteen times during the last thirty years scientists have claimed to have detected gravitational waves, but so far none of those claims have survived the scrutiny of the scientific community. Gravity's Shadow chronicles the forty-year effort to detect gravitational waves, while exploring the meaning of scientific knowledge and the nature of expertise. Gravitational wave detection involves recording the collisions, explosions, and trembling of stars and black holes by evaluating the smallest changes ever measured. Because gravitational waves are so faint, their detection will come not in an exuberant moment of discovery but through a chain of inference; for forty years, scientists have debated whether there is anything to detect and whether it has yet been detected. Sociologist Harry Collins has been tracking the progress of this research since 1972, interviewing key scientists and delineating the social process of the science of gravitational waves. Engagingly written and authoritatively comprehensive, Gravity's Shadow explores the people, institutions, and government organizations involved in the detection of gravitational waves. This sociological history will prove essential not only to sociologists and historians of science but to scientists themselves.
Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves
Author: Daniel Kennefick
Publisher: Princeton University Press
View: 8320Since Einstein first described them nearly a century ago, gravitational waves have been the subject of more sustained controversy than perhaps any other phenomenon in physics. These as yet undetected fluctuations in the shape of space-time were first predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity, but only now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, are we on the brink of finally observing them. Daniel Kennefick's landmark book takes readers through the theoretical controversies and thorny debates that raged around the subject of gravitational waves after the publication of Einstein's theory. The previously untold story of how we arrived at a settled theory of gravitational waves includes a stellar cast from the front ranks of twentieth-century physics, including Richard Feynman, Hermann Bondi, John Wheeler, Kip Thorne, and Einstein himself, who on two occasions avowed that gravitational waves do not exist, changing his mind both times. The book derives its title from a famously skeptical comment made by Arthur Stanley Eddington in 1922--namely, that "gravitational waves propagate at the speed of thought." Kennefick uses the title metaphorically to contrast the individual brilliance of each of the physicists grappling with gravitational-wave theory against the frustratingly slow progression of the field as a whole. Accessibly written and impeccably researched, this book sheds new light on the trials and conflicts that have led to the extraordinary position in which we find ourselves today--poised to bring the story of gravitational waves full circle by directly confirming their existence for the very first time.
Scientific Discovery and Social Analysis in the Twenty-First Century
Author: Harry Collins
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
View: 4251Gravity’s Ghost and Big Dog brings to life science’s efforts to detect cosmic gravitational waves. These ripples in space-time are predicted by general relativity, and their discovery will not only demonstrate the truth of Einstein’s theories but also transform astronomy. Although no gravitational wave has ever been directly detected, the previous five years have been an especially exciting period in the field. Here sociologist Harry Collins offers readers an unprecedented view of gravitational wave research and explains what it means for an analyst to do work of this kind. Collins was embedded with the gravitational wave physicists as they confronted two possible discoveries—“Big Dog,” fully analyzed in this volume for the first time, and the “Equinox Event,” which was first chronicled by Collins in Gravity’s Ghost. Collins records the agonizing arguments that arose as the scientists worked out what they had seen and how to present it to the world, along the way demonstrating how even the most statistical of sciences rest on social and philosophical choices. Gravity’s Ghost and Big Dog draws on nearly fifty years of fieldwork observing scientists at the American Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory and elsewhere around the world to offer an inspired commentary on the place of science in society today.
An Introduction to Theory, Experiment and Data Analysis
Author: Jolien D. E. Creighton,Warren G. Anderson
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
View: 6600This most up-to-date, one-stop reference combines coverage of both theory and observational techniques, with introductory sections to bring all readers up to the same level. Written by outstanding researchers directly involved with the scientific program of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the book begins with a brief review of general relativity before going on to describe the physics of gravitational waves and the astrophysical sources of gravitational radiation. Further sections cover gravitational wave detectors, data analysis, and the outlook of gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics.
Einstein, Gravitational Waves, and the Future of Astronomy
Author: Govert Schilling
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Category: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
View: 4520The detection of gravitational waves—ripples in spacetime—has already been called the scientific coup of this century. Govert Schilling recounts the struggles that threatened to derail the quest and describes the detector’s astounding precision, weaving far-reaching discoveries about the universe into a gripping story of ambition and perseverance.
The Quest for Gravitational Waves
Author: Pierre Binétruy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
View: 1070This delightfully written book takes the reader on a journey though the history of gravity, from the 16th century experiments of Galileo, through the remarkable insights of Einstein, to the recent observations of gravitational radiation from cataclysmic cosmic events: the merger of two black holes. THe history of the Universe itself, from the Big Bang to the present, is traced in a way that delineates the essential role played by gravity in its evolution. THe reader is afforded the option of following these stories with varying degrees of attention to technical detail. AT whatever level suits ones taste, a fascinating trip is in store. MAry Gaillard, Professor Emeritus, Physics Department, University of California, Berkeley
What Humans and Machines Can Do
Author: Harry Collins,Martin Kusch
Publisher: MIT Press
View: 5957What can humans do? What can machines do? How do humans delegate actions to machines? In this book, Harry Collins and Martin Kusch combine insights from sociology and philosophy to provide a novel answer to these increasingly important questions.The authors begin by distinguishing between two basic types of intentional behavior, which they call polimorphic actions and mimeomorphic actions. Polimorphic actions (such as writing a love letter) are ones that community members expect to vary with social context. Mimeomorphic actions (such a swinging a golf club) do not vary. Although machines cannot act, they can mimic mimeomorphic actions. Mimeomorphic actions are thus the crucial link between what humans can do and what machines can do. Following a presentation of their detailed categorization of actions, the authors apply their approach to a broad range of human-machine interactions and to learning. Key examples include bicycle riding and the many varieties of writing machines. They also show how their theory can be used to explain the operation of organizations such as restaurants and armies. Finally, they look at a historical case -- the technological development of the air pump -- applying their categorization of actions to the processes of mechanization and automation. Automation, they argue, can occur only where what we want to bring about can be brought about through mimeomorphic action.
A First Course on Relativity
Author: Bertel Laurent
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company
View: 1383The theory of relativity is tackled directly in this book, dispensing with the need to establish the insufficiency of Newtonian mechanics. This book takes advantage from the start of the geometrical nature of the relativity theory. The reader is assumed to be familiar with vector calculus in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space. Contents:Principles. Basic Applications:Clocks and AccelerationVector AlgebraVector CharacteristicsSimultaneity and Space DistanceLinear IndependenceRelative Velocity and Four-VelocityTwo-Dimensional SpacetimePlane WavesParticle ReactionsCurved World LinesTensors:Definition and ExamplesAlgebraic PropertiesTensor FieldsSpacetime VolumesCurrentsElectrodynamics:Sourcefree ElectromagnetismElectro-Magnetism with SourcesSolution of the Wave Equation Readership: Undergraduates and graduates in astronomy and astrophysics.
Technology's Attack on Referees and Umpires and How to Fix It
Author: Harry Collins,Christopher Higgins
Publisher: MIT Press
Category: Sports & Recreation
View: 9739How technologies can get it wrong in sports, and what the consequences are -- referees undermined, fans heartbroken, and the illusion of perfect accuracy maintained.
Black Holes, Naked Singularities, and the Cosmic Play of Quantum Gravity
Author: Pankaj S. Joshi
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
View: 7461This book describes some of the most fascinating occurences in the universe - black holes and space-time singularities. These arise when massive stars reach the end of their life cycle and collapse and shrink under their own gravity as they exhaust their supply of internal nuclear fuel. A star that was once millions of kilometers in size shrinks to a pinprick smaller than the dot on an "i". This is the space-time singularity, an extreme region of the universewhere densities, temperatures, and all other physical quantities take arbitrarily large values. According to Einstein's theory of gravity, the singularity is either covered within an event horizon, thusgiving a black hole, or it can be a visible naked singularity. The final fate of the star depends on its internal structure. In cases of the singularity being visible to faraway observers in the universe, we have the possibility to witness the workings of quantum gravity effects. Such observational signatures related to how the gravity and quantum may operate together could help us formulate the quantum gravity theory, a long cherished dream of physicists. Thus these issues are found to beintimately related to our search for the Unification of Physics, understanding all the basic forces in nature in a single theoretical framework.
Listening to the Sounds of Space-time
Author: Marcia Bartusiak
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
View: 6947Traces ongoing efforts by scientific observers throughout the world to detect gravitational waves, infinitesimal quakes that could significantly expand on what is known about the universe today. Reprint.
Venturing Into Earth Orbit and Beyond
Author: Piers Bizony
View: 692An optimistic look at space travel not only showcases the groundbreaking technology of today but also speculates on what lies beyond today's hardware, in a book that looks at both governmental and commercial strategies for space exploration and where in the universe they may lead humans in the future.
Author: Saulson Peter R
Publisher: World Scientific
View: 9692LIGO's recent discovery of gravitational waves was headline news around the world. Many people will want to understand more about what a gravitational wave is, how LIGO works, and how LIGO functions as a detector of gravitational waves.This book aims to communicate the basic logic of interferometric gravitational wave detectors to students who are new to the field. It assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of physics, but no special familiarity with gravitational waves, with general relativity, or with the special techniques of experimental physics. All of the necessary ideas are developed in the book.The first edition was published in 1994. Since the book is aimed at explaining the physical ideas behind the design of LIGO, it stands the test of time. For the second edition, an Epilogue has been added; it brings the treatment of technical details up to date, and provides references that would allow a student to become proficient with today's designs.
Capturing the Rays of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Author: Neil English
View: 838Space telescopes are among humankind’s greatest scientific achievements of the last fifty years. This book describes the instruments themselves and what they were designed to discover about the Solar System and distant stars. Exactly how these telescopes were built and launched and the data they provided is explored. Only certain kinds of radiation can penetrate our planet's atmosphere, which limits what we can observe. But with space telescopes all this changed. We now have the means to "see" beyond Earth using ultraviolet, microwave, and infrared rays, X-rays and gamma rays. In this book we meet the pioneers and the telescopes that were built around their ideas. This book looks at space telescopes not simply chronologically but also in order of the electromagnetic spectrum, making it possible to understand better why they were made.
'a Salutary Moral Influence'
Author: Richard Crockatt
Publisher: Oxford University Press
View: 1535Albert Einstein, world-renowned as a physicist, was also publicly committed to radical political views. Despite the vast literature on Einstein, Einstein and Twentieth Century Politics is the first comprehensive study of his politics, covering his opinions and campaigns on pacifism, Zionism, control of nuclear weapons, world government, freedom, and racial equality. Most studies look at Einstein in isolation but here he is viewed alongside a 'liberalinternational' of global intellectuals, which includes Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, and Bertrand Russell. This volume examines how Einstein and comparable intellectuals sought to exert a 'salutary influence', asEinstein put it in a letter to Freud. Einstein's complex and enigmatic personality, which combined intense devotion to privacy and a capacity to perform on the public stage, also contributed to the Einstein myth. Studying Einstein's politics, it is argued here, takes us not only into the mind of Einstein but to the heart of the great public issues of the twentieth century.