Chinese Journal of Physics | VOL. 55
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A brief history of gravitational wave research

Publication Date Feb 1, 2017

Abstract

Abstract For the benefit of the readers of this journal, the editors requested that we prepare a brief review of the history of the development of the theory, the experimental attempts to detect them, and the recent direct observations of gravitational waves (GWs). The theoretical ideas and disputes beginning with Einstein in 1916 regarding the existence and nature of gravitational waves and the extent to which one can rely on the electromagnetic analogy, especially the controversies regarding the quadrupole formula and whether gravitational waves carry energy, are discussed. The theoretical conclusions eventually received strong observational support from the binary pulsar. This provided compelling, although indirect, evidence for gravitational waves carrying away energy—as predicted by the quadrupole formula. On the direct detection experimental side, Joseph Weber started more than fifty years ago. In 1966, his bar for GW detection reached a strain sensitivity of a few times 10 − 16 . His announcement of coincident signals (now considered spurious), stimulated many experimental efforts from room temperature resonant masses to cryogenic detectors and laser-interferometers. Now there are km-sized interferometric detectors (LIGO Hanford, LIGO Livingston, Virgo and KAGRA). Advanced LIGO first reached a strain sensitivity of the order of 10 − 22 . During their first 130 days of observation (O1 run), with the aid of templates generated by numerical relativity, they did make the first detections: two 5-σ GW events and one likely ...

Concepts

Gravitational Waves Direct Observations Of Gravitational Waves Quadrupole Formula Pulsar Timing Array Gravitational Waves Spectrum Gravitational Waves Events Electromagnetic Analogy Gravitational Waves Detectors Cosmic Microwave Background Binary Pulsar

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