This year is a fantastic followup to last year’s Probaway Person of the Year, Albert Einstein’s prediction of stars or black holes colliding and forming gravity waves. The huge difference this year is that this event was a collision of neutron stars now named GW170817 and that they were located visually within half a day of the gravity waves’ time of arrival. They were discovered by triangulating the three gravity wave observatories to a small portion of the sky, but that area was still loaded with billions of stars. A desperate search of that patch of sky with large telescopes found the kilonova before the light signal faded away and then published the exact location so astronomers all over the world could each do their own research. What was demonstrated by their study was that the heavier elements, most of those beyond iron, were created by the collision of neutron stars. See, nytimes text and video. Aug 17, 2017.
The complete up-to-present list of – Probaway Person of the Year:
- 2018 – Astronomers for discovering the signatures of the heavy elements like gold in the collision of neutron stars.
- 2017 – Albert Einstein for predicting black holes, their collisions creating gravity waves, and the laser for observing the gravity waves.
- 2016 – Xi Jinping for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
- 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth created theories that led to proofs this year of mass and gravity sources.
- 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
- 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
- 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
- 2011 – Craig Venter laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
- 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
- 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
- 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.
These may seem like strange choices but they are people involved in potentially long-term-memorable events which had a major tipping point the year before their selection.
The moment the discovery of the collision of two neutron stars by the LIGO instruments, while similar to last year’s pick, is of Universal importance. It begins a whole new era of astronomy, but the LIGO instruments were also involved in the reason why Albert Einstein was chosen last year. After the neutron star collision was detected by LIGO the web network permitted many of the major visual telescopes of the world to locate and then observe the results of the collision. This is of great importance because they were able to see the Fraunhofer lines and thus to discover the source of the heavy elements on the Periodic Table of Elements.
The energy needed to create some elements is greater than is produced by a supernova, where many of the lighter elements are created. Nearly all the elements necessary for life are the lighter ones, but there may be some traces of the heavy ones that are needed. Trace elements in the human body include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, tin, vanadium, and zinc but there may be more.
Carbon-based life may not use these heavier elements but the computer-based life now being brought into existence by human beings and their huge factories does use them. It may be possible for us to create chips that are able to evolve into self-replicating beings. These transcarbon beings would look at the neutron stars’ collision as the beginning of their physical existence when combined with human beings’ God-like help. Human beings can live for a century but transcarbon ones might have infinite lifespans.
The discovery of the creation of the heavy elements is a major event to every sentient being in the Universe.