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On that day, our understanding of the universe took a leap forward…

Gravitational Waves

Brian Clegg

In 2015, after 50 years of searching, gravitational waves were detected for the first time and astronomy changed forever. In 2017, the project's leading scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Astronomy has always depended on electromagnetic radiation: visible light, radio, X-rays and the rest. But gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric go space time predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity - can pass through barriers that stop light dead.

At the two LIGO observatories in the US, scientists developed incredibly sensitive detectors, capable of spotting a movement 100 times smaller than the nucleus of an atom. They recorded the ripples produced by two black holes spiralling into each other, setting spacetime quivering.

This was the first time black holes had ever been directly detected - but it promises far more for the future of astronomy. One day, we may be able to look back to the first seconds of the universe itself.

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Reviews

A quick but fascinating introduction to the big world of big data. Tushna Commissariat, Physics World

As always, Clegg writes with an easy clarity that draws us in - no technical expertise required to understand his exploration of this essential subject - and throughout Big Data’s highly enjoyable pages, the spread and range of material is highly impressive – dizzying in fact. I personally found entirely new perspectives on the subject that will keep me pondering for quite some time.

I should add that, if I were still a statistics lecturer at Oxford, I would recommend the book to my students as bedside reading. Peet Morris - Popular Science book review site

Acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg - a habitual early adopter of new technology (and the owner of the second-ever copy of Windows in the UK) - brings big data to life. Groove Book Review (NZ)

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