“Up till now, we’ve been deaf to gravitational waves,” said David Reitze. “But today, we are able to hear them.”
It was one of many inspiring quotes from the news conference announcing the historic first direct detection of gravitational waves, the spacetime tremors forecast by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. Andrew Grant reported the announcement, which described the cosmic shake-up of two black holes merging and, in the process, releasing a burst of energy in the form of gravitational waves. The waves began their journey about 1.3 billion years ago (give or take half a billion), unaware that we would be listening. Very, very carefully.
The listening device, twin observatories known as LIGO, had just