The remarkable story of how humankind discovered gravitational waves, chronicled with unparalleled historical and scientific vision.
In 2016, the LIGO and Virgo Collaborations made headlines when they announced the detection of gravitational waves—a century after Albert Einstein first predicted their existence with his general theory of relativity. With unprecedented perspective as physicists at the forefront of this discovery, Mario Díaz, Gabriela González, and Jorge Pullin provide a comprehensive and accessible account of the quest to find gravitational waves, their controversial history, and the efforts that culminated with their detection and a Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Sounds of the Cosmos vividly narrates contributions from the ancient Greeks through Einstein, in addition to the breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the discovery of the Hulse-Taylor binary star system (the first of its kind ever observed) and the technology behind gravitational wave detectors. The authors' fusion of meticulous research and accessible prose makes this book an indispensable resource for the scientifically curious, lending astonishing new context to the revelation that we can “hear” the cosmos through gravitational waves. Written with exceptional historical and conceptual insight, this is a definitive and dazzling journey through “the eternal quest of humankind to understand the universe.”
About the Author
Mario Díaz is Director of the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he is also a Professor of Physics and President of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists. Gabriela González is Boyd Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Louisiana State University, a former spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Jorge Pullin is Horace Hearne Chair in Theoretical Physics at Louisiana State University and was founding editor of the journal Physical Review X.