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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

“Gravitational waves are most happy seismologists and snipers”


The discovery of the century — the gravitational — can change our lives. It is difficult to imagine how. Almost as incredibly difficult it would be to the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, first registered in the late nineteenth century, electromagnetic , imagine a mobile phone that runs on the electromagnetic radiation. But we still decided to open the window in future and a month after the official announcement about the opening — together with experts from the Russian quantum center (RCC) to think about what in the coming decades we will be able to say thanks to the pioneers of gravitational waves.


photo: morguefile.com

Thus, the detectors of the Laser interferometer gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in Washington and Louisiana caught the vibrations of the space as a result of events that occurred far across the Universe 1.3 billion (!) years ago. Two black holes colliding together in one mass 62 Sun, calling in the space of fluctuations gravitational waves. Maximum radiated power in this case was 50 times greater than that of the entire visible Universe.

It is very impressive! But the mankind always need to know: what does he open from that close? Will we be able to use gravity to your earthly purposes?

Graviton was invented, but not yet found

— While all of the assumptions do not go beyond basic science, says scientific Director of the RCC and member of LIGO scientific collaboration within the group of Moscow state University Mikhail GORODETSKY, but from previous experience gained by the society over several centuries, we know that any fundamental direction can produce many useful things.

Remember how it was two centuries ago, when Maxwell first predicted the electromagnetic waves, and 25 years after that first Hertz have fixed them by putting in one corner of the room transmitter and the other receiver. Could he suppose that after a hundred years coupled receivers-transmitters of these waves every second inhabitant of the Earth will be wearing in their own pocket? Now the situation is similar: gravitational waves discovered, and what it means — while no one can say. Now we can talk about benefits only at the level of the Universe. Gravitational waves are “ears” that we can listen to what is happening in the farthest corners. Opening it will certainly give a new impetus to develop a theory of quantum gravity.

— Quantum theory and the theory of gravity many contradictions — can they actually incompatible?

— Rather, we have few data about gravity. In that it generates gravitational waves, we have experimentally verified. But we do not see how gravity is related to electricity, electromagnetic fields, strong and weak interactions between electrons and protons. All interactions involve quantum theory, except gravitation. And the long-lingering idea to reconcile gravity and quantum theory. But it would be a theory of gravity to Supplement knowledge. There is another weak spot. For example, all of the above types of energies correspond to a quantum particle (for electromagnetic — photons) and particles that carry gravity (wave oscillations), yet. She came up with the name while on-duty — graviton. We’ll find it or find the issue.

Another weak point is our concept of black holes. What is it? From the point of view of the theory of gravitation, which States that large masses collapse into smaller objects, everything seems to be correct. But a black hole is nothing, it is the point at which somehow fit dozens (!) our Suns. Everyman, I’m not expecting quantum concepts thinks that the substance may not sink in anywhere, feels a confusion, a nonsense.

Apparently, somewhere near the black hole inside it or there is another life, which we don’t yet know. American theorist Stephen Hawking already made the first assumption that the substance can escape from black holes, but this is simply not a proven theory.

Gravitational waves will help to predict earthquakes

Neil Armstrong return from the moon said, “What did you find on the moon?” He said: “We found on the moon many small chips”. That is, in the preparation of lunar mission American technologists did a very dramatic leap forward in the miniaturization of electronic devices.

— Global experiments always lead to the development of technologies, — said Gorodetsky. And we can now say that the development of gravitational-laser antennas LIGO there have also been numerous technological breakthroughs. For example, the development of new, very powerful (200 watt) and stable lasers and very much advanced technology for manufacturing mirrors. The 40-pound mirrors that were used in the experiment to reflect the laser beams that are different from those in which you look every day at home. Instead of a single layer of metal (silver or aluminum) they have several layers of dielectric (deposition of molecules of crystalline substances). They have a reflectivity of 99.999 — almost completely reflect the light. In order to achieve this, I had this mirror is to Polish, creating the perfect shape.

— Well and where it might be useful?

— When creating optical tools, precision instruments — from sniper rifles to space communications. The Americans, for example, has already “reached” with the help of such laser-optical instruments to the moon, but rather, to the Orbiter which rotates around the moon.

— Do we have such a connection?

— We also have technology, but we don’t fly to the moon… Few people know, but it is up to our, Soviet scientist could at the time to lead the LIGO project. Is Vladimir Braginsky. He was invited in USA, but he didn’t want to become a dissident, but there was no other way.

But back to the technology. To create the antennas of the detector have developed new methods of welding pipes, which was launched laser beams. In order to create inside these tubes a great vacuum, next had to build a power plant only for these tubes to warm up. Now the vacuum of space will remain there for years.

No gravitational antenna to measure something other than waves?

— There is the idea of using the LIGO detectors for measuring seismic signals. They are very sensitive and theoretically can assist in the prediction of earthquakes and research of an internal structure of the Earth.

When the antenna is used more actively, it will also be possible to test quantum theory.

— How?

— We’ve learned that quantum physics is related to something more miniature — atoms, electrons… But, oddly enough, and 40 kg mirrors behave quantum way, when we cannot help their time-dependent during measurements of very small displacements.

— “Side effects” from the study of gravitational waves is, of course, interesting and useful, but still let’s look into the more distant future.

Who knows, maybe in the future if we are in possession of the gravitational energy, it will give us some prospects to create FTL ships. In the special theory of relativity “forbidden” to travel faster than the speed of light, it is the ultimate. But probably there is a possibility to bypass it. If we before flying missile will learn how to compress the space by gravity, as happens in a black hole, and behind the rockets to extend this space, of course, the objects of the Universe will be closer to us.

Satellite navigation will replace the gravimeter

Finally, in the RCC told me about one interesting project that is associated with gravity, but not gravity waves. Here together with the Physical Institute. Lebedev RAS are working on creating a gravimeter — a device that determines the location of anything or anyone not on satellite data and earth’s gravity acceleration G, which, it turns out that in every city on earth has a different meaning.

It is only at high school physics lessons told us that the acceleration G on Earth is everywhere the same and equal to 1 G. This is true, but only when we talk about integer values of this index.

For example, when 1G is a ball thrown from a 100-meter height, will fall to the ground 4.5 seconds and reaches a speed of 159 km/h. But when more subtle measurements (for example, to 10 to the minus 17 degree G) the landing speed of the ball will differ depending on the landing site. Affect it’s gravitational anomalies caused by the inhomogeneity of the earth’s surface, its density in different areas.

— For example, in the ravine mass and density of the Earth less and the force of attraction of the object is less than, — says the employee of the RCC Yevgeny PARAMONOV. — Conversely, the mountain having greater density, will give the object an additional acceleration. To feel the subtle changes in terrain, you need a precision instrument, on which we work.

— What is the principle of its action?

— On the acceleration technology of cold atoms. When we cooled them to microkelvin (about -273 degrees Celsius), they begin to work with high precision measuring the difference of acceleration in any point of the Earth. Remember the example with the ball thrown to the Ground? So, in our case, for a more accurate measurement of G we “toss” and fix the speed of attraction of the cooled atoms.

Unwittingly begs the question: why do we need gravity meters, if there is already GPS and GLONASS?

— First, the gravimeters are more accurate — the objects they find will be accurate to 1 meter (GPS and GLONASS location accuracy is currently about 10 meters). But even if at the moment of creation of portable gravimeters measures of precision and accuracy of other navigation devices will be equal — still the advantage will be for the gravimeters. They will be more independent from all kinds of interference and sabotage.

In the West, too, engaged in their development?

— Yes. In England and in America in such start-UPS are investing tens of millions of dollars and euros. And the gravimeters have already appeared, though in laboratory performance. Compact devices.

— We laboratory option to far?

— Unfortunately, we have this rather complicated technology received limited attention and funding, but because we, naturally, are a little bit behind. But we don’t give up and try to catch up.

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