WASHINGTON (AP) -- For decades astronomers tried to prove Albert Einstein right by doing what Einstein thought was impossible: detecting the faint ripples in the universe called gravitational waves. They failed repeatedly until two years ago when they finally spotted one. Then another. And another. And another.
Three American scientists - including one who initially flunked out of MIT - won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday that launched a whole new way to observe the cosmos. Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences cited the combination of highly advanced theory and ingenious equipment design in awarding Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology.
Win - Race - Whole - Waves - Ways
"It's a win for the human race as a whole. These gravitational waves will be powerful ways for the human race to explore the universe," Thorne told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
The trio were part of a team of more than 1,000 astronomers who first observed gravitational waves in September 2015. When the discovery was announced several months later, it was a sensation not only among scientists but the general public. These are waves that go through everything - including us - but carry information on them that astronomers could not get otherwise.
Comparison - Galileo - Telescope - Jupiter - Moons
"The best comparison is when Galileo discovered the telescope, which allowed us to see that Jupiter had moons. And all of a sudden, we discovered that the universe was much vaster than we used to think about," Ariel Goobar of the Swedish academy said.
Weiss said he hopes that eventually gravitational waves will help science learn about "the very moment when the universe came out of nothingness."
Waves - Century - Einstein - Technology - Wobbles
Gravitational waves were first theorized a century ago by Einstein, but he didn't think technology would ever be able to detect the tiny wobbles, smaller than a piece...
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