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Scientists from both sides of the Atlantic have announced this morning in Washington DC the discovery of gravitational waves, 100 years after their prediction in the theory of general relativity by Albert Einstein.

Date:

02/11/2016


Scientists from both sides of the Atlantic have announced this morning in Washington DC the discovery of gravitational waves, 100 years after their prediction in the theory of general relativity by Albert Einstein.

Washington DC, February 11, 2016 –For the first time scientists have observed the vibrations in the “fabric” of space-time, called gravitational waves, coming from a catastrophic event in the universe, confirming the prediction of Einstein in his theory of general relativity and opening a new window on the cosmos.

Gravitation is the weakest of interactions in the universe. To reveal gravitational waves it was necessary to build specialized detectors, laser interferometers with long 2 to 4 kilometer arms. Various interferometers in different locations on the earth are necessary to establish the direction from where a gravitational wave originates. The important discovery was made possible thanks to twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Italy had a central role in this globally significant discovery. In the international network created for this experiment, Italy participated with VIRGO, an interferometer located near Cascina, in the province of Pisa. The collaboration between LIGO and VIRGO dates back a decade and aims to share technology, to coordinate data sharing, to cooperatively analyze data and jointly publish scientific results.

“This scientific success,” underscored Ambassador of Italy to the US Claudio Bisogniero, “ on behalf of two projects which have their historical origins and research centers based in the US and Italy, confirms once again the solid ties of cooperation between the two scientific communities, further reinforced thanks to the renewal of the bilateral protocol for scientific-technological cooperation recently signed in Rome on January 14, 2016 “


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