Direct evidence of gravitational waves discovered

Researchers at specialised observatories in the US announced on Thursday that they have detected the gravitational waves Einstein had already claimed existed 100 years ago. Commentators speculate on what this means for science.

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El País (ES) /

We'll know more 100 years from now

We can't know yet what the proof that gravitational waves exist will mean for us in practical terms, the centre-left daily El País comments:

“Most people will inevitably be asking: what are gravitational waves good for? It's the cosmic version of 'what good does that do me? … One possible answer: when Watson and Crick discovered the DNA double helix in 1953 they weren't aiming to revolutionise biomedical research, but that's precisely what their discovery is doing now. Perhaps we must admit that we have no idea what gravitational waves are good for. But we have good historical and philosophical reasons to suspect that the discovery will produce a cascade of applications we can't even imagine yet. Ask us again in a hundred years' time.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Leading scientists bring light to the darkness

A historic achievement, the liberal daily La Libre Belgique writes in delight:

“This discovery is as important as the moment when Galileo first pointed his telescope at the heavens. More than 99 percent of the universe is unknown to us (black holes, black matter, black energy), because it does not emit electromagnetic waves (radio waves, light waves, X-rays). Thanks to gravitational waves we will finally be able to 'see' - and better understand - certain phenomena in our universe, like black holes. It's as if after millions of years of darkness a small light had lit up the dark cave in which we live. This discovery testifies to man's best qualities, like a poem by Rimbaud or a Bach sonata. With no other goal than expanding our knowledge and making us more human.”

More opinions

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) / 12 February 2016
  Funding for basic research enabled sensational discovery (in German)