What if we could hear the heavens? What if the cosmic display above us has a sound track? In Marcia Bartusiak's new book, we are introduced to the science of gravity waves - or vibrations in space-time. We learn about the new generation of observatories, now being completed worldwide, that will give astronomers a whole new sense with which to explore and experience the cosmos. Instead of collecting light waves or radio waves, these novel instruments will allow scientists to place their hands upon the fabric of space-time itself and connect with the rhythms of the universe, adding an auditory dimension to the grand images we study through powerful telescopes.
In accessible and lively writing that translates intricate physical concepts into lyrical language, Bartusiak describes how a gravity wave surges through the cosmos at the speed of light. She describes what this phenomenon can tell us about the most violent events in the universe. Using the metaphor of music, we hear the cymbal crashes from exploding stars, tune into the periodic drumbeats of swiftly rotating neutron stars, listen to the extended chirps from the merger of two black holes, and even eavesdrop on the remnant echoes from the mighty jolt of the Big Bang itself. Such sounds comprise Einstein's unfinished symphony, still waiting nearly a century to be heard.
Bartusiak traces the fascinating story of Einstein's greatest achievement, his theory of general relativity. and goes on to explore how physicists' views of gravity waves have evolved over the decades since Einstein first proposed their existence. Revealing portraits of the key players involved in this revolutionary science put a personal face on today's experiments and bring to life the new observatories, such as LIGO in the United States. As Bartusiak weaves these intimate histories in with the ultimate aspirations for the new technologies, an absorbing story of science unfolds. This gripping account of complex, cutting-edge experimentation is brought down to earth and made interesting by an author skilled in the telling of popular science.