back to article Hold our tiny silicon spheres, say gravity wave detection scientists

A group of scientists from the University of Nevada at Reno says tiny sensors – small enough to be suspended in an optical trap – could pave the way for a new kind of ultra-sensitive gravity wave sensor. That is, of course, if gravity waves exist: predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity, gravity waves have proven …

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  1. Turtle

    Nice Clean And Neat Apparatus.

    "University of Nevada's Andrew Geraci with his proposed apparatus. "

    Milikan's Oil Drop Experiment looks better:

    http://chemistry.about.com/od/imagesclipartstructures/ig/Science-Pictures/Millikan-s-Oil-Drop-Experiment.htm

  2. Martin Budden
    Thumb Up

    I''ll bet they do exist.

    Everything else Einstein said has held up, so I'll bet good money that gravity waves are real. Finding them will be cool.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I''ll bet they do exist.

      Long ago they made a gyroscope to be sent up to find out about space draft, or something, predicted by Einstain. Anybody with a link to that.

      1. pierce

        Re: I''ll bet they do exist.

        gravity probe B, google it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they do, you'll never prove it

      "nobody has conclusively detected gravity waves so far."

      And they never will .. not using equipment like.

      Gravity waves are distortions _of_ space, not in space. The stretching of space will be paired with the stretching of your instruments and the slowing down of time. You won't see a thing.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: If they do, you'll never prove it

        I tend to agree with you.

        It's a bit like a dot on a polka dot handkerchief trying to detects folds by measuring the length of threads between it and another dot.

        No matter how the fabric's folded, the length of the threads remains the same.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: If they do, you'll never prove it

        Looks like some commentards are ready to submit their paper to "Loonie Reviews B"

        1. Francis Boyle

          By their logic

          we should all be floating near the ceiling since gravity is just a distortion of spacetime.

  3. MrDamage Silver badge
    Boffin

    They will never find them.

    Sure, they might be able to detect the space fluctuation, but the associated time fluctuation will mean they are always happening tomorrow.

    1. DB_lanky

      Re: They will never find them.

      Then we'll detect the ones that happened yesterday then in that case

  4. mIRCat
    Pint

    Surfs up!

    Once you find them I only have one question. Can you ride them?

    Cowabunga.

    1. beep54
      Trollface

      Re: Surfs up!

      Intriguingly, if you think about it, you might be able to ride them. Of course, exactly where would you possibly be going. Ooooh, I see a really high concept fim here :)

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Intriguing

    The higher frequency cutoff might mean the reason they've never been seen is all the existing detectors just can't respond fast enough. They've been damping the signal as structural distortion.

    Well, it's possible.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The dark matter dampens down the wave.

    So the only way to detect them is to be close enough to be pulled apart by them!

    Does Einstein’s theory actually predict them? Or does a special case mathematical solution lead to the 'possibility' that if this unreal situation should occur then there would be gravity waves, but in reality the energy dissipated by gravity waves (at a barely detectable level even at close range) prevents the big thing happening.

    There are many solutions to the field equations that are mathematically correct but physically impossible.

    1. beep54
      Devil

      Re: The dark matter dampens down the wave.

      "There are many solutions to the field equations that are mathematically correct but physically impossible."

      So? Actually physically demonstrate the square root of -1. Heck, for that matter, physically demonstrate a negative apple. Not really being all that flippant (well, some), but I always come back to that damned negative apple; it simply can't exist. For that matter, there's a major problem with zero apples (and should that even be a plural :)

  7. MichaelGordon

    There's no direct evidence of gravitational waves, but see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse-Taylor_binary - the rate of orbital decay matches that predicted for gravitational waves almost exactly.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong location

    This strikes me as the same thing as trying to detect magnetic changes on one magnet with a detector on a different one. If the fields themselves do not strongly interact, you will never know anything changed.

    My thought is to move the detector to a reasonably gravity neutral location (one of the Lagrange points) to eliminate the influence of the two strongest gravity fields (Earth and Moon). You will still have the sun to worry about, but maybe it would be able to detect waves/fields from the other planets in the system.

  9. Tim Starling

    Proven

    Like MichaelGordon says, the existence of gravitational waves is proven to several decimal places and is not disputed. But it's easy to forget that when grants for scientific megaprojects are on the line. "Testing Einstein's theory of relativity" is a nice thing to have on your grant application, perhaps better than "it's like a telescope except with terrible spatial resolution and a million times more expensive"

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