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The telltale sign of violent events in space

 In this illustration, the Earth is embedded in space-time (depicted by what looks like netting), which is deformed by a combination of low-frequency gravitational waves.
Tonia Klein
/
NANOGrav
In this illustration, the Earth is embedded in space-time (depicted by what looks like netting), which is deformed by a combination of low-frequency gravitational waves.

The universe is full of massive celestial bodies that slam into each other. Albert Einstein predicted that these cosmic collisions send out invisible shocks called gravitational waves through the universe, warping space-time. Think of a bowling ball tossed onto a trampoline.

One of the two kinds of gravitational waves has already been detected. Scientists are still looking for the other – the kind called “low-frequency” gravitational waves that are monster-sized compared to those that have been detected.

On this episode of Curious Campus, we’ll learn more about gravitational waves with Sarah Vigeland, an assistant professor of physics at UW-Milwaukee, and Xavier Siemens, an associate professor of physics at Oregon State University.

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The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee produces the UWM Chancellor’s Report and Curious Campus, a show about science, discovery and culture.