The Probaway Person of the Year won’t be decided for another three weeks until the year is over. On January 1, 2017, the person will be chosen, but Albert Einstein is a top candidate even though he died 18 April 1955 (aged 76) in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
The LIGO instruments using advanced laser measuring tools detected the gravity waves created by the collision of two 30 solar mass black hole objects. Einstein predicted and did the math for 1. Gravity waves, 2. Lasers, 3. Black holes, and 4. Black hole collisions.
Predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation, a form of radiant energy similar to electromagnetic radiation.
On 11 February 2016, the LIGO collaboration announced the first observation of gravitational waves; because these waves were generated from a black hole merger it was the first ever direct detection of a binary black hole merger.
Note that Einstein did all of those things essential to the discovery of gravitational waves one hundred years ago in 1916, but it took that many years to develop the technology necessary to prove his gravity wave theory. We must thank the thousands of people who worked on the LIGO project, and the millions of people that were responsible for creating the background technology that was necessary for these scientists to do their work, and the billions of people who through their purchasing of modern products supplied the money and the inputs to do those extraordinary things. This is ongoing research that is providing a new form of telescope to observe the workings of our universe. Strange things are being discovered that are putting us into our place and time in the Universe.
I was discussing my next Probaway Person of the Year this morning with “Nicolai Tesla” and we were comparing the creation of the Oculus Rift with the LIGO project as being remembered in 500 years. The Rift might be a major turning point in human perception of reality, perhaps even more profound than the computer, or the web, because it gets into a person’s physical reality at a deeper level. The LIGO discovery of gravity waves, by comparison, has a fundamental impact on how humans perceive their relationship with the Universe. It is an opening door that may have the impact of the optical telescope for expanding our understanding. Both are important!