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Scientific Controversies: Black Hole Blues



Astrophysicist Janna Levin and primary LIGO architect and MIT professor emeritus Rainer Weiss in a conversation about black holes, gravitational waves, and the soundtrack of our universe moderated by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist John Hockenberry.

This event was held in april 2016 upon release of the book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space (Knopf, March 2016) by Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard/Columbia, where she recounts the obsessions, aspirations, and trials of the scientists who embarked on the arduous, fifty-year endeavor to capture gravitational waves.

In February 2016, near the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, a team of scientists announced the discovery of the century: the detection of waves in the shape of spacetime – gravitational waves from an event that occurred over 1.3 billion years ago when two black holes collided, ringing spacetime like a drum.

About The Series:
Major scientific discoveries can disrupt the traditional order, leaving scientists adrift in concepts that resist familiar intuitions and beliefs. Of the new ideas that emerge, some will be wrong and some will be right. Honest and open scientific controversy helps disentangle one from the other. For the Pioneer Works series Scientific Controversies, we take a look at profound topics at the frontier of physics that have inspired unresolved debates.
 

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Scientific Controversies

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What Is Quantum Reality? Does Time Exist? Will Dying Black Holes Explode in Firewalls? Major scientific discoveries can disrupt the traditional order, leaving scientists adrift in concepts that resist familiar intuitions and beliefs. Of the new ideas that emerge, some will be wrong and some will be right. Honest and open scientific controversy helps disentangle one from the other. Eventually, one side of a debate grows in strength and finds confirmation in experiments, while the other atrophies. But both sides of a controversy contribute to the breakthrough of actual discovery – when the utterly abstract barges into the realm of the concrete. This series celebrates that passionate spirit of scientific debate. For the Pioneer Works series Scientific Controversies, we take a look at profound topics at the frontier of physics that have inspired unresolved debates.
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