It would be a huge discovery that would change how we understand physics.
Have scientists made an extraordinary physics discovery? Social media has become awash in rumors that it has.
Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University, wrote on Twitter recently that his “earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting.” Krauss had hinted at such a discovery by the Laser Interferometer Graviational Wave Observatory (LIGO) back in September, saying that it is “amazing if true,” according to a Discovery News report.
Gravitational waves are movements in space-time that could open up a new era in astronomy. They are believed to be produced by the acceleration of huge objects in space, such as collisions of black holes and mergers of galaxies, but detecting such gravitational waves have been difficult. Discovering them would mean we would be able to both detect and map them, revealing some of the largest objects and most energy producing events in the universe.
As a result of Krauss’s tantalizing tweets, rumors have been flooding social media on the possible discoery. But others are cautioning that nothing has been demonstrated yet, and there hasn’t been any official word from LIGO.
It’s not the first time people have jumped the gun on gravitational waves. South Pole telescope BICEP2 detected signals in the cosmic microwave background back in 2014 that appeared to be gravitational waves, but this was later debunked when scientists using the European Planck space telescope showed that these signals had simply been caused by dust in our galaxy.
So while this is a potentially exciting discovery, it might be wise to wait a little bit before declaring victory in the discovery of gravitational waves.