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friday :: july 30, 2004
einstein@home: gravitational wave research project

Einstein@Home is a project developed to search data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) for signals coming from rapidly rotating neutron stars, known as pulsars.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space and time produced by events in our galaxy and throughout universe, such as black hole collisions, shockwaves from the cores of exploding supernovas, and rotating pulsars. These ripples in the space-time fabric travel toward Earth, bringing with them information about their origins, as well as invaluable clues to the nature of gravity.

Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity, but only now in the 21st Century has technology advanced enough for scientists to detect and study them. Although gravitational waves have not yet been detected directly, their influence on a binary pulsar (two neutron stars orbiting each other) has been measured accurately, and was found to be in good agreement with original predictions. Joseph Taylor and Russell Hulse shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies in this field.

Einstein@Home will rely on private owners of PCs, like you, to donate computer time to the analysis of LIGO data. All youíll have to do is install a small, screen saver program to your computer. The screen saver will automatically download a tiny portion of the enormous data set that LIGO will collect. When your computer is otherwise idle, it will analyze the data and send it back to the LIGO scientists. The screen saver only runs when youíre not using the computer, or when you choose to manually turn the program on. Einstein@Home will not affect your computerís performance. The screensavers are being developed for Linux, Windows and Mac operating systems. >from *World Year of Physics 2005. Einstein in the 21st Century*.

related context
quantum universe: the revolution in 21st-century physics. 'what is the nature of the universe and what is it made of? what are matter, energy, space and time? how did we get here and where are we going?.' june 11, 2004
> space/time atoms?: quantum gravity-based universe. 'the tiny scale at which the microscopic structure of space and time becomes observable is the planck scale.' february 26, 2003
> in search of extra dimensions: beyond the standard model. 'somewhere within the planck scale, or at extreme energy levels, an incredibly small extra dimension may finally combine gravity and electromagnetism.' february 20, 2002
> artists and cosmonauts: art in zero gravity. february 28, 2002
> search for gravity waves: another window into the universe. 'gravitational waves are at the frontier of astrophysics. there's no question they exist, but they have not yet been detected directly'. december 10, 2001
> seti@home. distributed computation in seti@home. distributed computing projects @home. december 18, 2000

catch a wave from space-time fabric !

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