Astrophysicist Gives Analogy to Know Gravitational Wave Impact

Published: 12th February 2016 03:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2016 03:47 PM   |  A+A-


PUNE: How can a common man comprehend the nano impact of gravitational waves detected in the landmark astrophysics discovery of the century?

Eminent astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar came out with an analogy for the benefit of the layman to explain the complexity involved in detecting the gravitational wave that emanated at a distance of 1.3 billion light years from the earth.

"Imagine a fly sitting on an elephant. The weight of fly is added to his body but the elephant will not feel it. What LIGO (the detector used in the discovery) detected was much smaller than the perceived impact of the fly sitting on the elephant," Narlikar said while speaking to reporters at the city-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCCA), last night.

Narlikar, who was the first head of the IUCCA, recalled that he and one of his scientist colleague Sanjeev Dhurandhar had put up a proposal seeking funding for research on gravitational waves in India in 1988 soon after the Centre was set up but had failed to convince the authorities who doubted their "credibility" to undertake such a project for developing a detector.

Congratulating the Indian scientists who formed a part of the international team, Naralikar said detection of the gravitational waves is a "remarkable discovery which will be remembered for long".

Ajit Kembarvi, former director of IUCCA, said the team of Indian scientists called "INDIGO" which worked on the project made a significant contribution in developing methods for analysing data from the two detectors in the US that recorded the gravitational waves.

"IUCCA is also setting up a high performance computer in its premises for further analysis of the data," he added.

In an announcement that electrified the world of astronomy, scientists yesterday said that they have finally detected gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space time that Einstein predicted a century ago. When two black holes collided some 1.3 billion years ago, the joining of those two great masses sent forth a wobble that hurtled through space and arrived at Earth on September 14, 2015, when it was picked up by sophisticated instruments, researchers announced.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp