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Intimations of gravity waves.

Intimations of gravity waves

Gravity waves are -- theoretically -- cyclic disturbances ofgravitational forces that propagate themselves through space. Generated by astrophysical processes like supernovas or binary stars, they are gravity's analog to radio waves. Physicists are eagerly awaiting a demonstration that terrestrial detecting apparatuses can record them.

Individual gravity-wave detectors, of which there are severalin the world, occasionally record vibrations sufficiently above background levels to qualify as possible gravity waves. But experts agree that a definitive observation will require coincident recording of the same event by two or more detectors of similar design and sensitivity. Last spring the first triple-simultaneous observations were undertaken by a detector operated by the University of Rome at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, one at Stanford University and one at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

According to Guido Pizzella of the University of Rome, theobservers have not had time to analyze the data for triple coincidences, but they do have one suggestive double coincidence between Geneva and Baton Rouge, simultaneous to within a tenth of a second.

Moreover, at the end of last April, a supernova blew off in thegalaxy Centaurus A. The University of Rome detector recorded several rumbles then that coincided more or less with bursts of energetic neutrinos from Centaurus A recorded by a neutrino detector called LSD, located under Mont Blanc. Pizzella advised the symposium audience to take these indications "as an exercise. I do not claim we are observing gravitational waves, but we have reached a stage where we can begin to think astrophysically."
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Author:Thomsen, Dietrick E.
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 3, 1987
Words:255
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