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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interesting Idea - The Sounds of the Cosmos

Astrophysicist Janna Levin of Barnard College presents simulated sounds of gravitational waves from black holes in various systems. The idea is that, because gravitational waves, which are predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity, would stretch and compress our ears at certain frequencies. This would be equivalent to what air pressure waves do to the ear drum membrane in our ears, which is sound. Relativity predicts the frequency of gravitational waves from any astrophysical system, and Levin then simulates what the equivalent sound would be. Keep in mind there is no direct observation of gravity waves yet, but there is a growing collection of indirect evidence that these are real and travel at the predicted speed of light. There are several sophisticated experiments running that look for gravity radiation, and most scientists do not doubt they will be found some day, as they are a natural, necessary consequence of the warping of space-time in relativistic models.

Check it out and enjoy some of the computer simulations of black hole systems.

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