Brought to You by www.SEPP.org The Science and Environmental Policy Project
By Ken Haapala, President,
Quote of the Week. “Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.” – Bertrand Russell, “A Liberal Decalogue” from his autobiography.
Number of the Week: 87 Seconds
Which Science – Empirical? Modern empirical science is a great accomplishment of civilization and a gift to it. It is a process for evaluating many diverse ideas, weeding out those ideas that fail necessary tests, and modifying those ideas that need improvement. Sometimes the process may take one hundred years or more. Such is the case of Einstein mathematically speculating the existence of gravitational waves – ripples in space and time created by the motion of massive objects in the universe.
The testing was daunting, and for four decades the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been allocating funds supporting it. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) is an elaborate experiment, costing some $1.1 billion and using some highly sensitive instrumentation, especially designed for the project. It involved the construction of twin buildings 4,000 m (13,000 feet) long and about 2400 miles apart. In September 2015, the equipment detected gravitational waves, substantiating indirect evidence first observed in 1974. The three scientists who led the development of LIGO were honored with the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. All involved and the NSF are to be praised for their diligence in funding this multi-decadal experiment, whose construction started in 1994. See links under Other Scientific News