The Kid Should See This

Gravitational Waves Explained Using Stick Figures

How are gravitational waves made? In this episode of MinutePhysics, Henry Reich draws up a series of other wave creating scenarios — water waves, air pressure waves, and radio waves — to help explain gravitational waves and how we detect them. A bit of background from CalTech:

Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. Einstein’s mathematics showed that massive accelerating objects (such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other) would disrupt space-time in such a way that ‘waves’ of distorted space would radiate from the source (like the movement of waves away from a stone thrown into a pond). Furthermore, these ripples would travel at the speed of light through the Universe, carrying with them information about their cataclysmic origins, as well as invaluable clues to the nature of gravity itself.

The strongest gravitational waves are produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes, the collapse of stellar cores (supernovae), coalescing neutron stars or white dwarf stars, the slightly wobbly rotation of neutron stars that are not perfect spheres, and the remnants of gravitational radiation created by the birth of the Universe itself.

Related exploration: The award-winning Einstein@Home project.

For more, watch LIGO & The First Observation of Gravitational Waves.

This feature is being tested. Saves will disappear if you clear cookies. Find saved videos here.

🌈 Related videos

E=mc² explained in two minutes by Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Rion Nakaya

The Giant Magellan Telescope

Rion Nakaya

The moment scientists see the first photo of a black hole

Rion Nakaya

Concrete Does Not Dry Out – Minute Physics

Rion Nakaya

Build your own space-time warping demo for the classroom

Rion Nakaya

The Beautiful Relationship Between Physics and Jazz

Rion Nakaya

Why Is The Sun Yellow and The Sky Blue? – MinutePhysics

Rion Nakaya

General relativity & why GPS wouldn’t work if we didn’t know about it

Rion Nakaya

DIY Cloud Chamber – How to build your own particle detector

Rion Nakaya

Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.