The Sounds of the Cosmos
Gravitational Waves and the Birth of Multi-Messenger Astronomy
220 pp., 6 x 9 in, 47 b&w illus., 8 color plates
- Published: February 28, 2023
The remarkable story of how humankind discovered gravitational waves, chronicled with unparalleled historical and scientific vision.
In 2016, the LIGO and Virgo Collaborations made headlines when they announced the detection of gravitational waves—a century after Albert Einstein first predicted their existence with his general theory of relativity. With unprecedented perspective as physicists at the forefront of this discovery, Mario Díaz, Gabriela González, and Jorge Pullin provide a comprehensive and accessible account of the quest to find gravitational waves, their controversial history, and the efforts that culminated with their detection and a Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Sounds of the Cosmos vividly narrates contributions from the ancient Greeks through Einstein, in addition to the breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the discovery of the Hulse–Taylor binary star system (the first of its kind ever observed) and the technology behind gravitational wave detectors. The authors' fusion of meticulous research and accessible prose makes this book an indispensable resource for the scientifically curious, lending astonishing new context to the revelation that we can “hear” the cosmos through gravitational waves. Written with exceptional historical and conceptual insight, this is a definitive and dazzling journey through “the eternal quest of humankind to understand the universe.”
“Rich in historical detail with simple yet elegant explanations of the physics of gravity, The Sounds of the Cosmos will captivate everyone who wants to understand one of the most spectacular scientific breakthroughs of the twenty-first century.”
David Reitze, Executive Director, LIGO Laboratory, Caltech
“The Sound of the Cosmos is an engaging book about the science of gravitational-wave astronomy. Readers will appreciate the perspectives of its authors, who participated in the creation of this new field.”
Rainer Weiss, Emeritus Physics Faculty, MIT; co-recipient, 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics