The detection of gravitational waves in 2015 confirmed Einstein’s prediction of a century before – and opened an entirely new window on the universe. Prof. Martin Hendry of Glasgow University, a senior member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration which made the discovery, surveys the brief history of gravitational-wave astronomy and the remarkable technological innovations that have made it possible – from the pioneering research of Prof. Ron Drever, of Orkney descent, to the development of the Advanced LIGO detectors, the most sensitive scientific instruments ever constructed.
With many dozens of merging black holes and neutron stars already detected, which are testing our theories of gravity and spacetime to the extreme, he looks at what lies ahead as new technologies will push the detectors’ sensitivity to even greater limits.
You can watch this free event from here, through the YouTube link below, or if you’d like to join questions and discussion, you can also go to the Science Festival’s YouTube channel
For the detection of gravitational waves, the 2017 Breakthrough Prize was awarded to the entire LIGO team. At the ceremony hosted by Morgan Freeman, the scale of the achievement was described, and tribute paid to one of the three project founders, Prof. Ron Drever, whose failing health prevented his attendance. He was represented by his great-nephew, Thomas Walter.