Gravitational waves confirmed – Einstein was right about everything

Huge scientific discovery

The existence of gravitational waves has been confirmed. There really are ripples in the space-time continuum.

Think back on all those sober nights you spent lying on the grass  staring up at the Milky Way and letting your mind boggle, until finally it’s come to this. Einstein was right in everything he said.

Einstein was more right than he himself ever believed.

Einstein wasn’t trying to solve the meaning of the Universe when he started out on the journey that ultimately came close to solving the meaning of the Universe. All he was trying to do was explain a small anomaly in the observed position of Jupiter in the night sky. As one does. Just an average day for your average Nobel laureate. And yet, his final result, his General Relativity theory, was so monumentally insightful, so logical and so internally consistent that it threw out the sort of results Einstein himself would continue to question to his dying day.


Simple. Although he knew that one inevitable implication of his theory was the existence of gravitational waves, Einstein was a true scientist: one who remains constantly sceptical. He knew his logic was as good as he could make it. He knew where it led and yet he doubted himself as every good scientist does. But today he might just take down his violin and play himself a gentle Beethoven sonata for Einstein of all men was one who truly understood the music of the spheres, and he was no mean fiddler. After he played at one benefit event, a critic who didn’t know much about him  wrote, Einstein plays excellently. However, his world-wide fame is undeserved. There are many violinists who are just as good.

albert einstein playing violin

It took a man with such a soul to peer into the heart of our very being and to render it in the crystalline symbolic logic of mathematics: the only possible notation for the music of the spheres.

That was Albert Einstein, a musician, a physicist and a pacifist. A quirky man of great good humour.

Isaac Newton was not such an engaging character. As Master of the Royal Mint, he made it his personal business to secure the execution of twenty-eight countefeiters, his vigour undiminished by his great age. At 75, Newton was older than pretty much everyone else in the England of the times and he didn’t finally fall off the perch until he was 85, but by then he had created a legacy that lives on to this day. It’s by Newtons laws of planetary motion that NASA and the European Space Agency calculate the trajectories of their spacecraft. They use his calculus, developed before he reached 24. Their telescopes are based on the principles of optics he set out. Opticks. His theories of gravitation predict very well the motion of the celestial bodies, apart from a minute, almost indetectable variation — the very anomaly that Albert Einstein was trying to explain when eventually he embarked on his path towards General relativity.

And what an explanation it was. Space can be bent and so can time.

However, before we dismiss Newton once and for all, let’s remember his caveat: I take space to be absolute. In other words, he recognised that his rigid Cartesian frame of reference was no more than a construct for the purpose of keeping the calculations clean. Who’s to say he didn’t also recognise that time might not be as linear as everyone else presumed? After all, Newton was no slave to conformity. Many in the intensely religious atmosphere of his era considered him a heretic for denying that Jesus was divine, and yet he persevered with that view in the face of huge disapproval.

Newton knew that space was not uniform and he also knew that he was in the debt of many other great minds.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Einstein never had anyone executed, and what’s more he was not religious, despite the various quotes ascribed to him, but he must have known full well that he also was standing on the shoulders of a giant in the shape of Newton. After all, for most practical purposes, the corrections applied by General Relativity to Newtonian mechanics are so small as to be negligible. It wasn’t Einstein who made the rendezvous with Rosetta but Isaac Newton.  The Curiosity Mars lander relied on classical Newtonian physics.

No popular scientist will ever explain how a Brazilian can bend the ball past the keeper by mentioning Einstein whose contribution needs to be explained in an altogether more feeling way.

Newton might have taken the pulse of the universe but Einstein spoke to its soul.  Today, sixty years after he decided that his work here was done, sixty years since he last shook his head and wondered where he went wrong, the scientists of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in a staggering tour de force of exactitude,  have shown that he was right all along.

And of course he doubted it to the end, as any good scientist should.


How scientists finally found the gravitational waves


65 thoughts on “Gravitational waves confirmed – Einstein was right about everything

  1. A wonderful day for Einstein. A wonderful day for mankind. We have revealed another piece of our universe. A lot more to go but we’re on our way.
    Happy new year Bock.

  2. Just trying to find something else on that.. I think that’s how his theory of relativity was proven actually, when an they eventually observed an eclipse of mercury.

    “The question is whether Newton’s predictions agree with the amount an orbit precesses; it is not enough to understand qualitatively what is the origin of an effect, such arguments must be backed by hard numbers to give them credence. The precession of the orbits of all planets except for Mercury’s can, in fact, be understood using Newton;s equations. But Mercury seemed to be an exception.

    In contrast, Einstein was able to predict, without any adjustments whatsoever, that the orbit of Mercury should precess by an extra 43 seconds of arc per century should the General Theory of Relativity be correct. “

  3. Mr.Bock, Sir,
    This is a topic with with which I am not all that familiar but I would like to offer a minor textual correction to your work above. I do hope that you don’t mind.

    The discovery of the Laws of planetary motion are actually accredited to Johannes Kepler, not to Newton. Maybe you mixed it up with Newton’s Laws of Motion as published in “Philosophie Naturalis Principia Mathematica” published by Newton in 1667.
    It is really only a minor point as all the laws of mechanics and motion apply equally rigidly throughout the whole three dimensional universe.

    One thing I loved Einstein for was that he never ridiculed anyone even for the most outlandish theory. Celia Payne was a woman in science at a time when women in such a line was snubbed, to say the least. She postulated that the Sun was largely made of iron much to the ridicule of the establishment at the time. Einstein (in so far as I know, was the only one who did not laugh at her.). Since NASA’s SOHO project we know that the Sun is at least 66% iron!

    But for me, “The Heavens declare the Glory of God”.

  4. One of my favourite images on the whole if the Internet is that of the participants in the Solvay Conference of 1927. If there were an all-time all-stars team for science, the photograph would contain it – Einstein, Curie, Bohr, Schroedinger, Heisenberg – it was one of the most extraordinary gatherings in history. I feel we have gone backwards from that time, certainly we have CERN, but the budgets for most scientific research are dwarfed by the expenditures on weaponry for futile conflicts and consumer electronics. it would seem impossible for scientists the calibre of the Solvay participants to now emerge.

  5. Ian — I have to agree. That must be the most impressive collection of great scientific minds ever gathered together in one place.

  6. I’m going to confess my confusion. I do not have a scientific mind send do not see the relevance of gravitational waves or how they impact on everyday life. Could someone explain in lay mans terms. Thanks in advance.

  7. I find the question baffling. Are you asking what the point is of investigating the fundamental nature of the universe?

  8. Ebeneser Joan — Kepler’s laws, while important historically, are purely kinematic. They take no account of the underlying forces and resultant accelerations of bodies in motion. If they didn’t already exist, they would flow naturally from Newton’s laws of gravitation and motion, but they would be a special case of Newton’s laws, confined to closed orbits. It would be quite impossible to rendezvous with Rosetta or land on Mars relying only Kepler’s laws to provide the theoretical basis.

  9. Yes Ian.. great minds indeed gathered at the Solvay Conference. However it is most regrettable that Heisenberg subsequently blotted his copybook when he got involved in the crystal meth business.

  10. Interestingly Einstein first proposed the existence of gravitational waves in a paper published 100 years ago in 1916, what an extremely odd co-incidence.

    I say “odd” because Einstein built upon the work of other greats to develop the theory of Quantum Mechanics, a theory with which he was profoundly unhappy because he could not accept the uncertainty which underlay it, we should not forget the contribution of the famous Schrodingers Cat thought experiment which went to the nub of this uncertainty, his unhappiness with the apparent random nature of Quantum Mechanics is expressed in his famous quotation “God does not play dice” or words to that effect. However, try as he might he could not disprove his own theory which now stands as the cornerstone of modern quantum physics. To our great advantage his attempt at disproving his theory only succeeded in leading to even more incredible predictions and subsequent discoveries such as Black Holes and and the Wave Particle Duality of Light, To our great misfortune, the Unified Field Theory or so called Theory of Everything eluded him and that is mankind’s loss.

  11. An interesting question indeed when you consider that Einstein was an outright atheist who believed in no god. You could say that his use of the word god was intended to express Nature. And it’s true that he was not at ease with uncertainty, but that was not due to any kind of intellectual inertia. He just didn’t feel it in his big toe, so to speak.

  12. Einstein was a non-practising Jew and was not at all religious, his reference to God is thought to have been designed to stress the fact that something so seemingly organised as the Universe could in fact operate with such apparent chaos. Newton and others had proposed that the Universe operated to certain laws and Einstein could not reconcile this with his own theories. However in challenging his theories he discovered that the Universe did indeed operate to certain laws but the laws that worked at the classical Newtonian level broke down at the quantum level. This irritated Einstein who felt that science should not “work” only under certain constraints or boundaries. In fact his questioning of these “laws” have led to the discovery of several universal constants which are true at all levels, these appear now to be at the center of String Theory, our best chance yet of a unified Field Theory.

  13. That’s strange, since Newton himself acknowledged that his own laws only applied within certain simplifying assumptions, the most significant of which was that he took space to be absolute.

  14. To lighten the conversation Darragh O’Briain, himself having a degree in Maths and Theoretical Physics, once said that the famous equation E=MC^2 should have read E =MC^2+1 on the basis that Einstein forgot to “carry the one”………a little light relief since Einstein himself said that if the world of Quantum Mechanics doesn’t baffle you then you haven’t even begun to get the concept.

  15. Apologies Bock, I should have written that he was suggesting that E=M(C^2) should have been E=M(C^2+1) which would of course have been E=M(C^3).. Interestingly enough the joke is very insightful as it goes to the heart of the “Fine Tuned Universe” proposition which suggests that our combination of Universal constants are such as to provide ideal conditions for life on Earth and thus it follows that life of a different kind must therefore exist in other galaxies where such “constants” have different values” i.e the Multiverse Theory.

    Hawkins, Feynman and Richard Dawkings have explored this concept further in the debate between Creationism and Evolution but of course many religious leaders have exploited this to suggest that only a supreme being (i.e. God) could have organised such a coincidence. Its strange that religion, once the tyrant against science is now turning to science to support its beliefs which otherwise have no basis in fact.!!

  16. By Religion, I assume you mean religious people. They have always cherry-picked scientific ideas, but never adopted scientific rigour for a very simple reason. When you believe in magic, it will never withstand critical scrutiny, unless you happen to be The Lovin’ Spoonful.

  17. Yes I mean religious people, those who espouse great convincing arguments to the gullible until those arguments break down under scientific scrutiny and then they unleash the “F” word, yes that’s the Faith word, what you need people to have when you are talking bollocks.

    Anyway Bock I’ve enjoyed our exchange, perhaps we should now retire and let others enter the debate.

  18. I don’t think Einstein was an atheist at all.

    In one of his letters, he in fact wrote – ” “You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. … I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

  19. Here’s another one –

    “The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who — in their grudge against the traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’ — cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

    I wouldn’t say ‘outright atheist’ at all. He was too advanced for that sort of fanaticism.

  20. “I find the question baffling. Are you asking what the point is of investigating the fundamental nature of the universe?”

    Not questioning the point of doing anything, I simply stated that I don’t understand gravitational waves and thus cannot get excited by their discovery. I would appreciate if someone could explain the concept in lay mans terms.

  21. @Artemis I have listened to the sound of gravitational waves as suggested and must say that I would prefer to listen to a recording of Einstein playing his beloved violin. Greek philosophers talked about the Music of the Spheres. Gravitational shock wave sounds unfortunately de-romanticize that ancient concept.Maybe scientists after exhaustive researches will uncover and record the real music as imagined by the ancients. I hope it will sound like Beethoven.

  22. It’s just a sound Benjamin.. a sound from the universe.
    It aint no piano concerto no. 5 in e flat major op. 73 all right. :)

    Can you explain the concept of spacetime as a unified entity in layman’s terms No.8?

    Well if you can understand that, what’s happened is they’ve detected distortions of it..

    Here’s a video explaining how the distortion was detected..

  23. Einstein is on record as referring to himself as an agnostic and disassociated himself from the label atheist. He is quoted as having said “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but expressed it clearly”. As Benjamin R points out above, references like “the Music of the Spheres” were philosophical rather than religious references.

    For those needing a basic intro to Quantum Mechanics and gravitational waves you can’t beat “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawkings, very readable and non-mathematical.

  24. No. 8, I try with my limited mind and in very simple words to explain the importance of this confirmation that gravitational waves exist – and why.

    These waves bend, stretch and compress the four-dimensional spacetime. That ist the three-dimensional space as we know it and time as the fourth dimension – basically like ripples in a pond when you throw a stone into the water: Let’s say the water ripples in three dimensions (space) and expands and ripples out to the shore (time).

    If you throw a handfull of pebbles into the pond you cause several ripples which merge, intersect, distort and influence each other. From the extension and severity of each ripple you could calculate when and where what size of pebble hit the water, even if the pebbles are already on the ground of the pond and covered with muck.

    It works similar in the universe: The actual waves they confimed came from a collision of two massive black holes about 1.3 billion light years ago. These are the ripples of two big pebbles long gone (imagine 1.3 billion lightyears! That’s some view into the past!) but the waves of these collisions are still there (and now confirmed).

    The universe is full of pebbles which move around, collide and generally do their stuff – and hence create a multitude of different waves (or ripples).

    These ripples allow us humans or at least those with great minds eventually look into space and time. What happened where and when in our universe? And how does it affect the universe as we know it? Which might lead to the first ever event: the Big Bang. What actually happened? When? How? And why?

    I know this might be a bit simplified, but I try myself to get my mind around it.

    The confirmation of gravitational waves is not a final answer, it opens up more questions to be explored.

    What all this has to do with everyday life? Surely nothing in the way of microwaves.
    But I think it get’s further and further to the all encompassing questions of mankind: How and why and to what purpose does the universe exist. Well at least these are my questions.

    And about Einsteins famous words “god does not throw dice”: He actually said (roughly translated):
    “The theory (of quantum mechanics) provides a lot. But it hardly brings us closer to the secret of the old man. At any rate I am convinced that he does not throw dice” .
    (He didn’t say god, “der Alte” or “old man” can mean in German as well “the old geezer”, so not exactly godly).

    What he meant with this rather popular comparison was that there are no accidents in physics.
    Nothing to do with religion. Or microwaves.

  25. Thanks, Artemis. Scientists might have more precise explanations but, as a said, I’m trying to understand it myself.

    The brains of ordinary humans always look for analogies they can comprehend.
    That’s good as long as they don’t give up their own thinking cap for the simple explanation of some bearded old geezer who decided to create a universe.
    But, as Bock said elsewhere: Sin scéal eile.

    About lightyears: They are the measurement for astronomical distances and speeds in airless space. It’s the time light needs to travel in space, hence spacetime, so not just distance or just time.

  26. I think it’s only fair to answer No 8.

    However, I can’t reply in utilitarian terms, since not every fundamental discovery is immediately useful in everyday life.

    We might as well have asked what the point was in studying bacteria unil we discovered antibiotics. We might as well have asked why Newton was setting out his gravitation theories and his laws of motion until we experienced the industrial revolution and the space age. We might as well ask what the point of the Sistine Chapel is.

    I don’t know.

    All I know if that human knowledge has moved forward this week and our understanding of the universe can never be the same.

    That might seem like a small thing or it might seem like a big thing, depending on your point of view, but to me, it’s enormous.

  27. Ah I’m only splitting hairs Carry.. you can extrapolate one from the other really, but light years is for distance.
    If they say these two black holes collided 1.3 billion years ‘ago’, they are also the distance of 1.3 billion light years ‘away’, as these gravitational waves traveled at the speed of light.

    I can’t even fathom how they worked that out -the distance/age of the source of this gravitational wave. Fascinating stuff.

  28. Yes, it is enormous. But it takes some thinking to understand it at least a bit.

    We might not know now where it leads to, but I think it’s important to understand how it works and what it is about right here and now.

    That’s why I think that No 8’s question was perfectly legit.

    I was never good at science at school but I’ve had two brilliant teachers (in maths and in chemistry/physics) who encouraged me to think for myself and to ask questions no matter how stupid they seem or to take thinking routes no matter how absurd they were. I owe them a lot.

    Asking seemingly stupid questions, wondering about mundane things and how they work or even looking at night at the stars is the way to discovery and enlightenment. Ask Einstein or any other great mind. Or children.

  29. Carry many thanks for an elegant explanation which Einstein himself would be proud of……and particularly for clarifying the religious references which were not intended to be religious at all.

    And to Bock yourself sir, what are the chances of discovering the existence of gravitational waves and the almost (99.99%) certainty of the Higgs Boson or so called God Particle within months of each other, serendipity of the highest order, I’m sure Einstein would have had a wry smile at the timing of it all…………

  30. “Carry many thanks for an elegant explanation which Einstein himself would be proud of…”

    Gerry, many thanks for such a lovely compliment! That is the nicest thing I’ve heard in a long time.
    I take that as my Valentine’s gift … :-))))

  31. Happy Valentines Day……………to waffle on is easy… explain complex ideas with simplicity is a gift

  32. Aw Gerry, will you stop it now ….

    I’m still trying to understand the full implication. I read interviews with the scientists involved and I still don’t understand everything. As mentioned I’m not a science head just highly interested in astrophysics, the universe as such and the how and why.
    One scientist mentioned that this breaktrough gives them a chance to look into the question what was before the Big Bang. Now that gets me intrigued.

    The real insight for me is that we little creepy crawlies on this insignificant pebble in the universe know nothing, but we are getting there or at least aim to get there.
    Behind it all is the question why we or rather the universe exists.

    I still don’t understand the Higgs-Boson, though. It’s the cause of mass, that is how basically earthly stuff (or matter) originates?

    According to Wiki the book about the “god particle” was originally called the “goddam particle” which the publishing house changed to “god particle” – god sells, see Einstein.
    The question in the full title was “If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?”


  33. No. 8, Greeting,

    Carry beat me to the mark but gave a very good account and I won’t try to enlarge upon it but at the same time I won’t discard my own very elementary effort, as with correction from others, I learn myself.

    It is hard to know where to start but the rule of the conservation of energy seems a suitable place and I think that it is very central to grasping any of this.

    “Energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed.” It can only transform from one status to another. Light into heat, chemical energy into electrical, heat into kinetic energy and so on. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is lost or gained, and up until 1850 or so scientists were not sure what became of expended energy. (Clausius and Thompson discovered this).

    Gravity is a form of energy and the definition of energy is: “The capacity to do WORK”
    All forms of energy translate into OR from waveforms of some description when passing from one status to another. Historically, gravity has proven the most elusive form of energy to control, isolate, store, conduct, screen or insulate and only up to a few weeks ago gravity waves could only be proposed to exist although we knew that they were there — but WHERE?

    I will take the Edison Phonograph, (Later the record player for grooved records) as a demonstration piece of waveforms translating back and forth. In short, a mallebel disc with a carefully engineered spiral groove is rotated at a controlled speed on a turntable and sound is fed into a microphone which causes a needle running in the groove to vibrate in accordance the sound waves which it receives and in so doing “cut” these waves into the groove as it goes along. These waves which have been electrically amplified via the microphone, are
    re-fed back to the needle which reproduces the waveform as it finds it in the groove and so sound is reproduced back at a loudspeaker and so on, and so waves are sound and sound is waves. (Of course, outside energy is needed to drive the system).

    So there,how did I do as a very elementary teacher or did I get it all wrong myself?

    Mr. Bock, Sir,
    One of the significant developments that I think I can see emerging here is the development of antigravity research which is at present a highly classified military area and I fear that in the near future we may see the development of apocalyptic weapons rather than anything beneficial. If gravity waves can be isolated and controlled by reversing them (much in the fashion of the record player) then the proverbial apple which bonked Newton on the head and kickstarted all this will be falling back up into the tree and I can’t really see any good here as you may be quite sure that it is all in military hands.

    Regarding your remark on Newton’s religious stance there seems to be some evidence that he was into occult practice and this may have had something to do with attitude of many others towards him. Maybe I should look further.

  34. Occult practices?…Surely most religions have a “bad boy”? The guy you need to avoid when you stray from the righteous path….Christianity has the Horned One aka the Devil and Hell…..a guy with horns and a tail who hangs out in a raging inferno where you are sent if you stray from the path….check out your local Bible….sounds pretty occult to me…..and yet all Christians buy that baloney

  35. I stumbled across (on a very plausible and literally graphic explanation. It’s brilliant:

    Ebenezer Joan, I know you tried your best and I appreciate it very much indeed that you try to understand the whole thing like the rest of us, but even (copy & paste) knowledge from wikipedia should at least be quoted as such, put into context and searched properly. But keep going. It’s the way out of medieval, godfearing thinking.

    Anyway, can you please explain what you see as occult practices?

    Is it because great minds disregarding the “scripture” and observing their world with a logical mind are not allowed in your belief system and have to be belittled with nonsense? They must be in cohorts with the devil? Galilei anyone?

  36. Interesting concept Ebenezer, but in terms of – “Gravity is a form of energy and the definition of energy is: “The capacity to do WORK”

    From my understanding gravity is not an energy, but a force. An attraction force between objects with mass (or energy – i.e. the bending of light) .. it’s what enabled all the stars and planets and galaxies to form. According to Einstein, gravity is the effect of the warping of space an object has on space. I don’t think it has energy in and of itself..

    You might find this interesting actually –

    “We have other phenomena in Physics like this,” Verlinde continued. “Take a concept like ‘temperature’, for instance. We experience it every day. We can feel temperature. But, if you really think about the microscopic molecules, there’s no notion of temperature there..

    To Verlinde, gravity is similar. It’s something that only appears when you put many things together at a microscopic scale and then you suddenly see that certain equations arise.

    “We think we understand gravity in most situations,” he says “but when we look at galaxies and, on much larger scales, at galaxy clusters, we see things happening that we don’t understand using our familiar equations, like Newton’s equation of gravity or even Einstein’s gravity. So we have to assume there’s this mysterious form of matter, which we call dark matter, which we cannot see. Now dark energy is even weirder, in the sense that we don’t even know what it consists of. It’s something we can put in our equations to make things work, but there’s really a big puzzle to be solved in terms of why it’s there and what it’s made of. At present, we have not really found the right equations to describe it. There’s clearly progress to be made in terms of finding a better theory of gravity, and understanding what’s happening in our universe.”

  37. “Ebenezer Joan, I know you tried your best and I appreciate it very much indeed that you try to understand the whole thing like the rest of us, but even (copy & paste) knowledge from wikipedia should at least be quoted as such, put into context and searched properly. But keep going. It’s the way out of medieval, godfearing thinking.”

    What wiki knowledge? But keep going? Seriously? You seem to be lecturing others on the thread also about the god stuff, as if they are proponents of medieval, god fearing thinking, as you put it. That’s not half condescending..

  38. Wiki knowledge: google her quotations. It’s partly word by word.
    Keep going: It’s encouraging. Don’t you think?
    God stuff: She is a self proclaimed proponent of medieval christianity. See her previous contributions.

    By the way, It’s not half, it’s fully condescending, as I do on occassion, and it’s fully intended to get people thinking and arguing.

    Otherwise, Ebenezer Joan can think and argue for herself. And she does. I enjoy it actually. Neither of us needs an intermediary. It’s called debate.

    Standing up on a debate for those who are seemingly on the losing side is a noble trait but actually more condescending than challenging them.

  39. Where do I start?

    Gerry, The relationship with Newton to occultism in so far as I am able to trace so far, appears to be in the area of Alchemy. Alchemy today, is largely dismissed as a pseudo-science but in Newton’s time it was still worth investigating. Alchemists themselves were often accused of occultism mainly because they did not usually share the results of their work with others. It was very definitely a closed shop and as such attracted a lot of suspicion from both the Church AND the State. The State’s concern was that gold and other precious metals were being transmuted from base metals such as lead and this was SEEN as a direct threat to the stability of the currency system. In Newton’s time, coining, (forging coins), was a capital offence and alchemy, making gold and such from lead, was at least on the books for hanging as it was seen as akin to coining. (Officially, hanging, drawing and quartering although for “modesty’s sake”, women were burned).
    Now Newton himself had already hanged 28 persons in his office as Master of the Royal Mint and this probably leaves him with more judicial blood on his hands than many 17th century judges would have had and yet he himself was so suspected of an alternative (prospective) felony seen just as dangerous to the stability of the currency.
    I think that this comment has gone on for longer than it deserves as it does seem a long way from gravity waves but as Mr. Bock did mention Newton’s anti-Trinitarian views I contested that against the suspicion of occultism that surrounded him. The Unitarian Church views were not unusual even then, but strange to say, although he died a heretic from C of E, he is buried in Westminster Cathedral.

    A Google search “Newton occult” brings up the Wikipedia article:
    “Issac Newton’s occult studies”.

    NEXT !!

  40. Ebenezer Joan,

    Many thanks for your clarification on the mention of Newton and Alchemy in the context of “occult practices”. I agree it is largely a side issue and we should get back to the discussion on gravitational waves, I myself would like to hear some debate on where the discovery of such waves will now lead the development of modern theorethical physics.

  41. Arthemis, I offered as basic an explanation of things as I could manage for the benefit of
    No.8 as he seems very new to the subject and talking about gravity waves in space may have been a bit more than elementary so I tried to keep my offering “down to Earth” literally where gravity has its most direct and noticeable effects upon us and ordinary life.

    The rule of the conservation of energy namely, “Energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed” is otherwise known as the First Law of Thermodynamics and I do not feel the need to reference something so basic. The standard definition of energy is exactly what I said: It is the capacity to do WORK. When a force acting upon a body causes it to move or change then WORK is said to be done.

    Now, gravity is a form of energy BECAUSE it has the capacity to do work. You said to me that it is not energy it is a force. Force is the essential potential of energy.

    I recommend to you an excellent English textbook: “Engineering Science by S. Titcomb. (1979. Picador.) as I remember. Unfortunately, it may be out of print now but is you see a secondhand copy, grab it. One of the few books I ever devoured cover to cover!

    Now, all forms of energy are associated with waveforms, heat, light, electricity etc. and they are all transmutable one form of energy to another —- except gravity. Gravity is the oddball.
    Gravitational energy can be used to generate electricity etc. but how do you produce gravity from another form of energy? I don’t know.

    Antigravity research seems to indicate that a very strong electric field may hold something here but as I said earlier antigravity is still classified. I just don’t know !!

    Best wishes, E.J.

  42. Carry,

    I do apologise for not addressing you when I addressed Gerry as you posed me the same query regarding Newton’s involvement in occult studies.

    Carry, I would like to draw your attention to your interpretation of Einstein’s famous quote:
    “God does not throw dice” mentioned in 31.

    I cannot accept the expression, “The Old Geezer” and I encourage you to check your sources again. Jews, even the most atheistic and departed will NEVER abuse the Name of God or hurl abuse directly at Him. They may deny Him, fight and argue with Him, complain about Him or say things like: “If there is a God He must be very anti-semitic” and so on but they will not abuse Him.
    Now, if you know a Jew, godless or otherwise who does, that person is the exception.

    Back to gravity.

  43. “The rule of the conservation of energy namely, “Energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed” is otherwise known as the First Law of Thermodynamics and I do not feel the need to reference something so basic. ”

    Eh, what are you telling me that for Ebenezer? I wasn’t the one who called you out for using wiki quotes..

    “Standing up on a debate for those who are seemingly on the losing side is a noble trait but actually more condescending than challenging them.”

    He doesn’t seem to be losing anything and I must have missed where he’s a self proclaimed proponent of medieval Christianity. I must be a self proclaimed proponent of agnosticism, because I said that’s what Einstein proclaimed he was.

    He doesn’t look to need any encouraging either btw..

    Ok, back to the science, without the lecturing please….

  44. Mr. Bock, Sir,

    No,Sir! Gravity is a form of energy. I have every regard for your learning and you are indeed very learned. You are far more learned than me by a long shot but I tell you that if my beloved Albert Einstein were to say that to me I would withstand him to his face and tell him that he is wrong, (Probably “preaching” down to him, illustrating my point bit by bit and wagging my finger at him!) Gravity is most certainly a form of energy because by the definition of energy it has the capacity to perform WORK. When the force of gravity is applied to a body to move it then work is said to be done. Gravity has that potential.

    If a cuckoo clock is set up correctly with weights and chains, then the weights are drawn downwards in a regulated manner by the force of gravity thereby giving its energy to the clock which drives it. Without the gravitational force, things just don’t tick.(literally).
    How the gravitational “source” is recharged I cannot even guess at because energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed.

    If an EMF,(electromotive force — voltage) is present in a simple circuit, and the switch is open current,(amperes) do not flow. When the switch is closed voltage drops and current flows in proportion to the resistance(ohms) that it meets. Voltage continues to drop until the source,(the battery) is exhausted —- unless the battery is charging from an outside source.
    If gravitational energy is being discharged, what is recharging the source. For me, thereby hangs a tail. I draw a blank !!! Energy is coming from somewhere and it is going somewhere and every last sub-atomic particle and below eternally, must be accounted for.
    Nature always balances her books, for energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed.

    Please do not ask me to provide references from the net to justify myself because they can be wrong and I much prefer to reason my point out by logic and reason rather than masticating and regurgitating the work of others which I could with ease edit and manipulate to suit my own point of view anyway.
    If I wanted to say that the Earth is flat and that the Sun goes round the Earth I could find plenty of support on the net.
    Maybe the Earth IS flat and maybe the Sun DOES go round the Earth — after all, I can see it for myself!

    Arthemis, Call me Jehanne.

    Ebenezer refers to a Hebrew standard in the Old Testament which the Jews of old carried before them. It translates as:”The Lord has helped us all the way.”

    Where will the discovery of such waves bring us to is indeed something to wonder at.
    I do not believe that the discovery of this, way way out in space will mean anything to us for a very long time indeed but the application of such knowledge to the practical side of life here on Earth is something I feel apprehensive about. Medical use? Remains to be seen.
    I do know however, that the military get priority to all scientific applications and that people with bad instincts far outnumber those with good.
    I BELIEVE that antigravity research is a very classified military area and that the UFO phenomenon originates here. Nothing to do with E.T.s.
    Gravity waves as we call them now may illuminate some association between strong electrical fields and gravitational force but I am speaking now of things too high for me.

  45. Ebenezer Joan

    This is not the place to carry on your struggle with junior-school physics. Please do it in private.

    As I already asked you, move on, please.

  46. “This is not the place to carry on your struggle with junior-school physics”

    Can he stay if he gets more sophisticated like yerselves?

    He has a very valid point on gravity being a form of energy. I don’t think the link between the force gravity has on mass is fully understood really.

    Here are some on a physics forum debating the very thing he’s saying.

    “Surely Gravity doesn’t create energy as energy cannot be created or destroyed but only change state, surely when we say gravity has an effect on something it is energy changing state from whatever gravity’s energy is, or whatever the energy state of what we call gravity is, to kinetic energy? ”

    “Gravity is a form of energy. If there a gravitational field, then it has energy.”

  47. Ye might be interested in this, if you can wrap your head around some of it..

    ‘The Nature of Consciousness, the Structure of Reality’

    You can click on ‘preview this book’ to read it.
    Page 537 & 538..

    “Simplifying: The “unifying” superforce is not expected to function in time flow. Rather, it affects parts in a way not recongised as a cause and (then) effect force. We suggust the spin-zero-Higg’s superparticle is the real graviton – the quantum of gravity.

    All forces and manifest particles under the auspices of the Higg’s boson. The superforce is not expected to behave as an exchange particle. The Higgs superparticle probably functions independent of time flow. The superforce “acts on” parts in a timeless manner. (we explain how in the next chapter)”

    Independent of time flow, would mean outside of the cosmic speed limit, the speed of light.. I think.

    “If gravity has no source in some higher sameness, and it only applies to physical things in space, then it would not be identical with the superforce-Higg’s boson. It would only be a lower-level “force”, like the other forces. Because of Einstein’s work, we do not suppose this is the case. Plus, there are other ways of understanding gravity. We examine a more generalized way to explain gravity in Chapter 21.

    What does all this mean? The “unifying” role of the graviton itself is assumed by the Higg’s boson. The Higg’s quantum boson is the wholeness funtion (of reality). The wholeness function (of reality is synonymous with space itself) ”

    I typed that on sticky notes.. so excuse any spelling mistakes.

  48. “The Higgs superparticle probably functions independent of time flow. ”

    Which got me questioning the speed of gravity..

    This is interesting too, IMO.

    “Indeed, it is widely accepted, even if less widely known, that the speed of gravity in Newton’s Universal Law is unconditionally infinite.

    The same dilemma comes up in many guises: Why do photons from the Sun travel in directions that are not parallel to the direction of Earth’s gravitational acceleration toward the Sun? Why do total eclipses of the Sun by the Moon reach maximum eclipse about 40 seconds before the Sun and Moon’s gravitational forces align? How do binary pulsars anticipate each other’s future position, velocity, and acceleration faster than the light time between them would allow? How can black holes have gravity when nothing can get out because escape speed is greater than the speed of light?”

  49. Mr.Bock, Oh, please please Sir,

    I do apologise if I offended your intelligence with my elementary approach to a very complex subject and I know that you have told me to buzz off. I can understand professional people finding the conversation of a half educated cleaner tedious but I will venture to write again if even just to thank Arthemis for her support. I do hope so much that you do not mind.
    I did not mean to offend you with my insistence that you were wrong and that I was right as I knew I was, that gravity is a form of energy.
    If one cannot be frank about what is right and what is wrong then the conversation is pointless and I fail to see how you can talk about gravity waves in space, quantum mechanics and things of that order if basic scientific facts are contemptuously disparaged as junior school physics. Yes,they are junior school physics but their most important attribute is that they are facts.

    Arthemis, Thank you for your support. It was so refreshing and encouraging.

    Arthemis,In my opinion,you are the unsung professor in here just like Professor Celia Payne.

    (I am abroad at the moment —- Australia —– the HEAT WOW!)

    Best wishes Jeanne.

  50. Ebenezer Joan, your faux humour is becoming tiresome. The joke is over. This thread is not about you and unless you desist with this nonsense we will make it very definitely not about you.

    I have asked you politely three times to behave yourself. I won’t ask again.

  51. Thanks Jehanne, but I’m only trying to grapple with some of the basics really.. I’m not educated enough to understand most of the maths of physics, or to have coherent interpretive thoughts on a lot of the theories. I can just about get the gist of some of it.

    It can get frustrating.. the simple analogies of ripples caused by a stone being thrown in the water, or a bowling ball and marbles on a trampoline stretching the fabric of spacetime are about the best explanations that a lot of us can comprehend.

    Ye might like this actually –
    It’s a link to some lectures from Kip Thorne giving visual representations of the warping of spacetime from two colliding black holes.

    Around minute 33 of that, he explains using simulations the oscillations of two black holes and the gravitational waves given off by the collision of them. The simulations of the vortexes of the black holes are fascinating..

    There’s plenty of science forums where people love to discuss the nature and effects of gravity and spacetime/GR etc..
    And the forum owners might be a little more patient than around these parts too. :)

  52. Just one other comment.. In terms of the comment on utilitarian uses of the study of gravitational waves.

    If you go to 1:08 of that lecture on ‘Vortexes and Tendexes Around Black holes 2. Quantum Behavior of 40kg Mirrors in Gravitational Wave Detectors’ that I mentioned..

    Some of the utilitarian uses would be – quantum optics, nanotechnology, quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum cryptography.
    I would imagine things like quantum computers would process a lot more information at a faster speed and security threats wouldn’t be an issue.

    At the end of that lecture too he makes a few interesting comments on some Russian physicists. You get an idea of where they’re at compared to the western ones..

  53. This just came up on my feed today, if yer interested –

    “Recent results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland hint at activity going on beyond the standard model of particle physics – which means we could finally be about to enter a new era in physics.

    Right now, the standard model is the best explanation we have for how the Universe works and how it’s held together. But there are big gaps – most noticeably, the fact that the model doesn’t actually account for gravity

    – so scientists have spent decades probing the boundaries of physics for signs of any activity that the standard model can’t explain. And now they’ve found one.”

    Those Kip Thorne lectures I posted above too were very good, if ye got a chance to have a look.

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