A recent great mind-blowing achievement by some scientists and
physicians has opened a new door to explore more about the universe and
the Big-Bang. This may ultimately lead us to finding out the answer to
the greatest question ever- “How life emerged and how did  the planet
earth come into existence?” Several decades ago Einstein had predicted
that gravitational waves transport energy in the form of gravitational
radiation. Gravitational waves are a measure of strain due to the motion
of large masses that stretch space-time fabric. Space-time fabric is a
way of viewing space and time as a single, interwoven continuum. Just
like the way energy and mass are interchangeable forms of each other,
space and time are also interrelated. These waves travel at the speed of
light and cannot be stopped or blocked by anything. The gravitational
waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5.51 am Eastern Daylight
Time by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave
Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and
Hanford, Washington, USA. LIGO is a Scientific Collaboration, a group of
more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the US and from 14
other countries. 

This discovery has not only validated Einstein’s hypothesis of
the existence of gravitational waves, but has also proved the existence
of black holes, which was till date questionable. This is the first time
that the scientists directly saw a black hole, a mass 30 times larger
than that of the sun, and is undoubtedly the most intriguing object ever
known to mankind. Being very faint to detect, it was quite challenging
and could have been possible due to LIGO which can measure so precisely
the tiny distortion in the space-time fabric.

IIT-Gn group is a part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration
that works under the aegis of Indian Initiative in Gravitational-Wave
Observations (IndIGO), a consortium of scientists from nine Indian
research institutes and universities who contributed to the discovery.
IIT-Gn is a part of this break-through achievement in the field of
science that has answered a lot of questions and opened a way to find
the answers to the remaining questions about the mysterious universe.
Professor Anand Sengupta of IITGN was active principal investigator of
the Indian group, which was active in the IndIGO’s interaction with the
LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC).

The next question that jumps into one’s mind is what actually generated these waves and how did these scientists detect it?

When two massive black holes spiral against each other, they
release energy in the form of gravitational wave, which results in the
merging of these two black holes into a single black hole. And at that
time the power of gravitational wave is 50 times more than the combined
power of all the stars in the universe. That pulse of gravitational
waves lasting only for a fraction of a second expanding throughout the
universe unimpeded by billions of galaxies reached the earth after 1.3
billion years. Gravitational waves alternatively squeeze and stretch the
space itself and everything it passes through. The same happened to the
earth but it’s quite faint and invisible. In order to directly detect
them, the scientists built LIGO, the most sensitive measuring device
ever made. It uses device called interferometer to measure tiny
displacements in space. Incredibly tiny distortions in the space can
actually be measured by using this device. This tiny measurement made by
LIGO is a final step to the journey that began 1.3 billion years ago in
the distant universe when two black holes collided.

As the news of the revolutionary discovery of gravitational
waves, or ripples in space-time, spread across the globe, IIT
Gandhinagar celebrated this Eureka moment. IITGN is proud of Prof.
Sengupta for being a part of this glorious and breath-taking achievement
in the field of astro-physics.

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