Listen to the Gravitational Waves From Merger of Black Holes

Feb 16, 2016

Last week a team of scientists at LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, announced they successfully recorded gravitational waves resulting from two black holes merging into one. The existence of these waves, otherwise known as ripples in the fabric of space-time, were first proposed by Albert Einstein in 1916.

A visual of the gravitational wave signal recorded by LIGO.
Credit Emily Woodbury

Phil Kaaret, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, says that this discovery “opens a new way of looking at the universe,” and that “it’s just beginning of discovery.”

He emphasizes the significance by comparing it to the first time Galileo Galilei looked through a telescope. “Hopefully we don’t know where we’re going."

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Kaaret about what the LIGO revelation means for our future in space and for our knowledge of black holes.

Joining the second half of the show are Associated Press reporter Ryan Foley and Des Moines-based attorney Ryan Koopmans. Foley shares information about the federal investigation into the University of Iowa athletics program, and Koopmans talks about Justice Antonin Scalia's death and the impact of an Iowa Supreme Court case.