What's up in

gravitational waves

An apple being jostled by gravitons
gravitational waves

How the Bits of Quantum Gravity Can Buzz

July 23, 2020

New calculations show how hypothetical particles called gravitons would give rise to a special kind of noise.

Image of LIGO’s mirror.
Abstractions blog

To Make the Perfect Mirror, Physicists Confront the Mystery of Glass

April 2, 2020

Sometimes a mirror that reflects 99.9999% of light isn’t good enough.

Computer simulation of gravitational waves produced by a binary neutron star merger.
Abstractions blog

‘Radical Change’ Needed After Latest Neutron Star Collision

February 20, 2020

A recent neutron star merger has defied astronomers’ expectations, leading them to question longstanding ideas about neutron stars and the supernovas that create them. “We have to go back to the drawing board.”

An illustration of an extra-large black hole.
Abstractions blog

Possible Detection of a Black Hole So Big It ‘Should Not Exist’

August 28, 2019

At stake are fundamental ideas about how black holes form — and a six-way bet.

Illustration of three black holes on a starry background
Abstractions blog

To Make Two Black Holes Collide, Try Three

August 15, 2019

How do black holes merge and make gravitational waves? Maybe with a little help from their friends.

Art for "New Studies Rescue Gravitational-Wave Signal From the Noise"
gravitational waves

New Studies Rescue Gravitational-Wave Signal From the Noise

December 13, 2018

Two independent papers vanquish lingering doubts about LIGO’s historic discovery of gravitational waves.

Abstractions blog

A New Test for the Leading Big Bang Theory

September 11, 2018

Cosmologists have predicted the existence of an oscillating signal that could distinguish between cosmic inflation and alternative theories of the universe’s birth.

Illustration of a black hole with a Cauchy horizon
general relativity

Mathematicians Disprove Conjecture Made to Save Black Holes

May 17, 2018

Mathematicians have disproved the strong cosmic censorship conjecture. Their work answers one of the most important questions in the study of general relativity and changes the way we think about space-time.

Lede art for "Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity"
astrophysics

Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity

April 30, 2018

New observations of extreme astrophysical systems have “brutally and pitilessly murdered” attempts to replace Einstein’s general theory of relativity.