Books et al.Astrophysics

Fear and loathing in the hunt for gravitational waves

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Science  15 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6283, pp. 300
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5109

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On 14 September 2015, at 9:50:45 universal time, humans detected for the first time a gravitational wave—a rippling, infinitesimal stretching of spacetime itself set off when two black holes spiraled into each other. That mind-boggling discovery was made by the 1000 physicists working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a duo of enormous optical instruments in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. Black Hole Blues provides a lively, if not wholly satisfying, account of the 40-year quest to build LIGO.