MIT Prof. Max Tegmark wrote about the discovery of gravitational waves, “the holy grail of cosmology,” in an opinion piece in the New York Times:
The shock waves are still reverberating from the bombshell announcement of the discovery of cosmology’s holy grail: telltale signature of ripples in the very fabric of space generated as it “inflated” during our cosmic origins.
I think that if this discovery holds up, it will go down as one of the greatest in the history of science. It teaches us humans that we need to think big, because we are the masters of underestimation. Again and again we have underestimated not only the size of our cosmos, discovering that everything we thought existed was merely a small part of a much grander structure (a planet, a solar system, a galaxy, a universe, and maybe even a multiverse), but we have also repeatedly underestimated the power of our human minds to understand our cosmos.
He goes on to talk more about the discovery, and ends with this optimistic thought: “…although we humans may be small, the power of our minds to figure things out has superseded our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”
Read the entire article here. You can learn more about cosmology on OCW in the following courses:
8.224 Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity & Astrophysics
Video Lecture 10: The Universe and Three Examples
Video Lecture 13: Cosmic Structure Formation; From Inflation to Galaxies
8.286 The Early Universe