Gravitational Waves and Black Holes

Every so often the scientist in me has to come out! If you are interested in physics you have already heard about this, for those of you who aren’t…gravitational waves have been observed for the first time in the living history of humans, proving Einstein’s theory from about a hundred years ago, and proving the existence of black holes – WOW!

My day jobs means that I had the joy of being in the presence of a world class astrophysicist on Friday morning who gave us the low down of what had been discovered. You could hear the sheer delight and excitement in her voice and see the animation (not words I would normally use to describe this individual). This could be a Nobel prize winning discovery, and a whole new field of physics has been opened up. This is amazing! I was so enthused that I told my three and a half year old, who was somewhat concerned at the description that it has a squeezing effect, but relaxed when I said it was gentle. And then quite taken when I tried to explain black holes by balloons losing their air, probably not scientifically accurate but a deflating balloon isn’t a bad way to start thinking about a black hole at that age.

For those of you who want a lay person’s explanation check out any one of these articles, one from Pursuit, one from The Conversation, one from the SMH, or this one from the BBC; or simply search google using ‘gravitational waves’, there will be a surfeit of responses.