Gravitational Waves Detected: Stephen Hawking says it could ‘revolutionise astronomy’

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The discovery of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time, could “revolutionise astronomy”, according to renowned UK physicist Stephen Hawking who congratulated scientists on their groundbreaking work.

Hawking said the breakthrough tallied with predictions he made more than 40 years ago at Cambridge University.

In a landmark discovery for physics and astronomy, scientists yesterday said they have glimpsed the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.

“Gravitational waves provide a completely new way of looking at the universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionise astronomy. This discovery is the first detection of a black hole binary system and the first observation of black holes merging,” Hawking told BBC News.

“The observed properties of this system is consistent with predictions about black holes that I made in 1970 here in Cambridge,” Hawking, research director at Cambridge University’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, said.
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“The area of the final black hole is greater than the sum of the areas of the initial black holes as predicted by my black hole area theorem,” he said.

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“Apart from testing general relativity, we could hope to see black holes throughout the history of the universe. We may even see relics of the very early universe during the Big Bang at the most extreme energies possible,” Hawking added.