From the uncovering of gravitational curves to a promising male contraceptive, it was a groundbreaking time for science
It came from beyond the Large Magellanic Cloud. The signal, a mere 20 milliseconds long, captured the moment when two black hole slammed together a devastation that transmitted ripplings through spacetime and onwards to Earth, where they prepared organs chirp and scientists hearten. We have spotcheck gravitational movements, said David Reitze of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory( Ligo ). We did it.
The announcement ranked as the physics discovery of its first year, corroborating Einsteins century-old thought of seriousnes and putting the Ligo team on course for a Nobel. But the real excitement is yet to come. For the first quarter of a million years, the cosmos was hidden from astronomers. Now scientists can construct gravitational waving observatories and, with them, look back to the birth of the universe. We can consider the moment of creation.
It wasnt the only duration astronomers celebrated in 2016. In August, the European Southern Observatory in the Chilean desert find changes in the daylight coming from Proxima Centauri, the whiz nearest to the sunbathe. An Earth-sized planet was drawing the blood-red midget around. What thrilled astronomers was that the recently discovered world lay in the stars livable area, that Goldilocks region of cavity where the temperature is right for liquid ocean, and together with irrigate, perhaps life. The detection introduced the issues to, Are we alone? to our planetary doorstep and with it the realisation that such planets are not rare.
Stephen Hawking is convinced that aliens are out there, but hes cautious of inviting them over. In his 2016 cinema, Stephen Hawkings Favourite Plaza, he warned that matching up with a technically advanced bunch of planetary rowdies might do for humanity what Christopher Columbus did for the Native Americans.
Hawking is equally suspicious of neural networks. Yes, superintelligent machines might solve our greatest challenges, but not if they erase us out instead. Fortunately, that threat remains a remote one.