The Absurdity of Detecting Gravitational Waves How to Launch a Nuclear Missile 2 days ago   09:07

A head-vaporizing laser with a perfect wavelength detecting sub-proton space-time ripples.
Huge thanks to Prof Rana Adhikari and LIGO:
Here's how he felt when he learned about the first ever detection:

Thanks to Patreon supporters:
Nathan Hansen, Donal Botkin, Tony Fadell, Saeed Alghamdi, Zach Mueller, Ron Neal
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A lot of videos have covered the general overview of the discovery of gravitational waves, what they are, the history of the search, when they were found but I wanted to delve into the absurd science that made the detection possible.

When scientists want one megawatt of laser power, it's not just for fun (though I'm sure it's that too), it's because the fluctuations in the number of photons is proportional to their square root, making more powerful beams less noisy (as a fraction of their total). The smoothest mirrors were created not for aesthetic joy but because when you're trying to measure wiggles that are a fraction the width of a proton, a rough mirror surface simply won't do.

Filmed by Daniel Joseph Files

Music by Kevin MacLeod, "Black Vortex" (appropriately named)

Music licensed from Epidemic Sound "Observations 2" (also appropriately named)

Comments 8784 Comments

It's so crazy that we were at just the right level advancedness to detect this waves
So then thats what causes brain farts.
Alan P
One man's opinion, throughout history there have always been "scientists" who doubt. He'll be proven irrelevant like those.
Rishi Suresh
just a smoking stump lmfaoooo if that guy was any chiller he'd be dead
Çelebi Murat
When you asked the question about gravitational wave changing the wavelength of the light, I believe the professor was a bit confused. He said the photons in the stretched part are useless and the system works because they keep pumping light into the stretched space. This is wrong. The wavelength of the light changes but it doesn't change the speed of the light. But the distance that light needs to cover changes, so it still takes more (or less) time for the photon to travel that distance.

It is like a car that is 2m long travelling on a 3000m long road. Let say the middle of the car is in the middle of the road and, that means the front of the car is at the 1501m mark, that means the car needs to travel 1499m to finish the road. At that point, an enormous gravitational wave hits and stretches everything by 10%. Car is now 2.2m and the road is 3030m. The car is still in the middle, that means the front of the car is now at the 1516.1m mark. That leaves exactly 1513.9m. Gravitational wave changed the distance from 1499m to 1513.9m and even though the length of the car changed the speed of the car didn't change. This means it will take the car longer to reach the end of the road.

Stretched light waves are still useful. In fact, any light pumped into the stretched space will also change wavelength.
Piotr PRS
They detect 'unemploymend' if they don't show any results. So they MUST have to 'detect' something. The diffrence of distance over this 'merge' is around +/- 150 Mpc (like 25% dist.). So this merge can be in time frame like +/- 150 milions light year. But hey... they detect it exactly 1 month before financial review... What a luck .. isn't? :) Stupidity of this is BEYOND over our Universe.
"Smoking Stump" cool name for a game character.
Justin The Man
everything is and isn't at the same time.. that's an easy math thing to figure out :)
Tim Solnze
- Hmmmmmmmm.....Mbp
- .......Is that?... Is th... is? *laughts*
Tim Solnze
1:06 Science
Rana Adhikari is the prof whose classes you tried your hardest to register for, only to realize that it was already waitlisted at 2.7 femtoseconds. I'd kill to have this guy as a lecturer.
Jake Meszaros
It’s crazy how far humanity has gone in technological terms. The fact we can detect something that came from over a billion years away is absolutely baffling and how resilient the human mind is and shows the motivation we have to discover the secrets and mathematical/physical mysteries of things beyond our world.
Trent Wickham
0:44 every flat earther just cried
Diego Avila
Who funds this
John Moore
I wish I was smarter so I could understand this better.
Dazlidorne Jenkins
Really interesting, but what is the practical benefit of this? Detecting more black holes? To what end? Sorry if I'm naive.
Adam Heyman
who else is watching this and literally don’t understand anything there talking about but it sounds really cool
Apparently a megawatt laser is still not enough to produce an adequately ironed shirt. Looks like he's lived in that one for a month....
It's a pity, really. Such cool shades but his shirt makes him look like a hobo.
Aww, he reminds me of Curly from Pero Like.
Ron van der Horst
Space stretches? How do we know that?
Anyone got a link to the experiment that stretched space? Or even compressed it...
Theory need not apply...
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How to Launch a Nuclear Missile The Absurdity of Detecting Gravitational Waves 2 days ago   07:42

What was the procedure to launch a nuclear missile?
Uranium premieres: July 28 & 29 on PBS at 10pm ET/ 9pm Central
France and Germany: July 31 at 10pm on ZDF/arte
Norway: August 5 & 6 at 21:30 on NRK2
Australia: August 9, 16, 23 at 8:30pm on SBS
Sweden: TBD
Middle East: TBD

For more information on other screenings go to

A big thank you to The Titan Missile Museum, Yvonne and Chuck.

Space footage courtesy of NASA