2016 saw the first ever detection of gravitational waves, 100 years after their initial theoretical prediction by Einstein and following 50 years of arduous experimental effort. This opens up the possibility of a new era of physics, astronomy and cosmology in which the enormous energies released from such collisions, and the gravitational waves they generate, can be used as a new space-based laboratory probing aspects of the universe previously out of bounds.
Professor Rickles will offer an historical survey of some of the early controversies, show how the new developments settle these, and consider new problems and prospects thrown up in the aftermath.
Professor Dean Rickles is Professor of History and Philosophy of Modern Physics and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney, where he is also co-director of the Centre for Time. He has written several books, including most recently A Brief History of String Theory and Philosophy of Physics.
© 2017 Australian Academy of Science