gravitational wave

noun

Definition of gravitational wave

: a disturbance in space-time in the form of a wave that propagates the gravitational field Gravitational waves are a natural offshoot of the rubber-sheet construction of general relativity. Just as a massive object sitting on the fabric of spacetime creates a dimple, so moving or changing objects, under certain conditions, create wrinkles in the fabric. Those wrinkles, tiny distortions in spacetime, zoom away at the speed of light. Because these gravitational waves carry energy, anything emitting them will lose a tiny bit of its speed.Science

Examples of gravitational wave in a Sentence

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The researchers expect that, within five years, primordial gravitational waves will be detected. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Inflation theories must dig deeper to avoid collision with data," 6 Dec. 2018 The strongest gravitational waves come from the collision of black holes or very dense objects called neutron stars. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Ancient black hole collision is the most massive researchers have ever observed," 3 Dec. 2018 The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded today to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for their contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "Nobel Prize Explainer: Gravitational Waves and the LIGO Detector," 3 Oct. 2017 Last year saw the first event that astronomers detected using both photons and gravitational waves. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Neutron-star merger blasted a jet of material through the debris," 5 Sep. 2018 And less than a year went by before Einstein published a paper that used the new paradigm to produce gravitational waves. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Gravitational waves and the slow pace of scientific revolutions," 30 June 2018 Well, our theory certainly predicts that primordial gravitational waves should be there at some level. Alexander Hellemans, Scientific American, "A Conversation with Thomas Hertog, One of Stephen Hawking’s Final Collaborators," 24 May 2018 These amplified gravitational waves would leave their imprint on the polarization of the cosmic microwave background. Alexander Hellemans, Scientific American, "A Conversation with Thomas Hertog, One of Stephen Hawking’s Final Collaborators," 24 May 2018 Over that time, gravitational waves with frequencies between 30 and 300Hz were detected. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "LISA pathfinder mission a glorious success," 12 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gravitational wave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gravitational wave

1906, in the meaning defined above

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19 Jan 2019

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The first known use of gravitational wave was in 1906

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More from Merriam-Webster on gravitational wave

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about gravitational wave

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