Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Gravitational waves predicted by Einstein

  1. Jul 3, 2011 #1


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    I've read a newspaper article which claims: "If the search for gravitational waves succeeds, then Einstein's theory of general relativity may have to be revised"
    But I thought that Einstein predicted gravitational waves, so surely if they are found, it would confirm general relativity.
    I don't know much about general relativity, so I thought I'd ask here to see if the article is right or not.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think it should be reversed. If LIGO still doesn't find gravity waves, then maybe something has to be done.
  4. Jul 3, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Gravitational waves have already been indirectly shown to exist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSR_B1913+16 , and the rate of radiation matches up perfectly with general relativity's prediction. Nobody has any doubt that they exist. They are required to exist according to GR, so the title of the article does seem backward.

    What nobody has done yet is to detect gravitational waves directly. If they are detected directly, the main reason it would be exciting is that it would open up a new window on astronomy, allowing us to look at the results of extremely energetic processes like mergers of black holes. AFAIK, predictions of the frequency with which a device like LIGO would detect such events are extremely uncertain, since we don't know how common such exotic events are, and there may also be some uncertainty about how efficiently they radiate gravitational waves. For this reason, the detection or nondetection of gravitational waves directly is not, AFAIK, proposed as a test of GR.
  5. Sep 8, 2011 #4
    it can be true what u said....means......garvitational waves if exist could contradict the general theory of relativity....on the other hand if these waves just show charecteristics such as other waves does...we can bring out some quantum description of gravity....
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook