Einstein trusted his observations and his intimate intuitions about what he thought was right. This type of instinct can only be fielded after a long arduous vocation in study; often alone, in isolation, about the certainties one has about an endeavor. For Einstein, he had to go it alone because the formal institutions around him were archaic. Given that the institutions of higher learning were ‘backward looking’, he held no special affinity or attachment to the consequences of his achievements.
Why is this important?
Einstein knew that most of what he knew was right could NOT be empirically observed, the instruments of his day were limited. Yet it never restrained him.
Last week, physicists throughout the world converged on two states, Washington State in America’s north west corner and Louisiana to monitor and hear the collision of two black holes captured by American sensors.
The significance of this discovery is that it confirms how Einstein viewed the universe. For him, space itself was a fabric that magnified or held the contents of our universe in such a way to make it observable. The collision of two black holes deep in space would be captured by the very space they occupy, sending ripples outward like the way a pebble hits a pond. The two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO detectors) act like antennas capturing the impact of the collision.
Both black holes were nearly 30 times the size of our Sun and the colossal shock wave was captured at LIGO. It works very much like an L shaped pipe, each 2.5 miles long, capturing tiny vibrations using laser beams and mirrors. LIGO even translates this capture as sound.
What is the relation between LIGO & Einstein?
Einstein thought that space isn’t empty, but acts more like fabric stretching, amplifying or illuminating the consequences of the objects it holds. This means that IF we could place sensors in space, we could capture the waves and sound of The Big Bang or the radiation from the instant of Genesis. The baby pictures of the Universe will soon come into focus.
When Einstein postulated gravity waves 100 years ago, he upended how the Universe was supposed to be seen. His radical departure from archaic institutions is still with us.