The Absurdity of Detecting Gravitational Waves

  • Added:  4 months ago
  • A head-vaporizing laser with a perfect wavelength detecting sub-proton space-time ripples.
    Huge thanks to Prof Rana Adhikari and LIGO:
    Here's how he felt when he learned about the first ever detection:

    Thanks to Patreon supporters:
    Nathan Hansen, Donal Botkin, Tony Fadell, Saeed Alghamdi, Zach Mueller, Ron Neal
    Support Veritasium on Patreon:

    A lot of videos have covered the general overview of the discovery of gravitational waves, what they are, the history of the search, when they were found but I wanted to delve into the absurd science that made the detection possible.

    When scientists want one megawatt of laser power, it's not just for fun (though I'm sure it's that too), it's because the fluctuations in the number of photons is proportional to their square root, making more powerful beams less noisy (as a fraction of their total). The smoothest mirrors were created not for aesthetic joy but because when you're trying to measure wiggles that are a fraction the width of a proton, a rough mirror surface simply won't do.

    Filmed by Daniel Joseph Files

    Music by Kevin MacLeod, "Black Vortex" (appropriately named)

    Music licensed from Epidemic Sound "Observations 2" (also appropriately named)
  • Video CategoriesEducation
  • Runtime: 9:7
  • Tags for this video:  veritasium  science  physics  ligo  gravitational waves  wave  interferometer  black hole  black holes  interference  gravitational wave  spacetime  laser  detection  detecting  absurdity  detector  gravity  einstein  general theory of relativity  waves  

Comments: 4 313

  • James Davis
    James Davis 1 day ago

    Sorry, LIGO. Gravitational waves don't exist. You were only measuring the tremolo of what amounts to a cosmic leslie speaker until the black holes coalesced.

  • Hawaiiguy Kailua
    Hawaiiguy Kailua 1 day ago

    The only cosmic waves are Alfvens Waves, gravity waves are the imagination of the chalkboard theorists who haven't been outside in twenty years.

  • Lil Flatty
    Lil Flatty 1 day ago

    This is complete BS! No such thing as gravitational waves!👎

  • Tim
    Tim 1 day ago

    Great video!

  • Al2012dec
    Al2012dec 1 day ago

    A Caltech Professor who - as Prof. Adhikari - is openly skeptical over the whole  gravitational waves stuff is like a pope saying that God does not exist... ah ah ah! Prof. Adhikari is great as he speaks-up, he should ask a movie director in Hollywood to recruit him and his green glasses for his next comedy movie!

  • Nordkiinach
    Nordkiinach 1 day ago

    Funny how 2 months after this they say "Oops! It was an Electrical Fault in our Tech", but no Big Bangers will admit that Article even exists... like their Black holes...

  • Ray Raymond
    Ray Raymond 3 days ago

    If you believe this crap you are a moron

  • JBC
    JBC 3 days ago


  • GoodISnipr
    GoodISnipr 4 days ago

    Ok, now I'm not a FE'r but I have to question this:
    A 4km long tube that measures a laser's travel time, must mean that the tube is in fact "straight".

    So how far down into the soil/sand/whatever did the constructors have to dig to place the center of the pipe if the ends of the pipe are each at ground level?

  • ktaika Matika
    ktaika Matika 4 days ago

    Detection of gravitational waves and dark matter along with technological singularity sound like great deal of shitty pseudoscience to me. "Quickly, build us a machine that does not make mistakes and takes everything into account!"

  • Fleksimir
    Fleksimir 5 days ago

    Exposure to a megawatt of energy for a fraction of a second cannot vaporize anything close in size to a human being. To turn 1 kg of water at 40°C into vapor at atmospheric pressure takes about 2.5MJ of energy, so likely more than 2 minutes for a living human body to be left completely dry.

  • Chad Hurley
    Chad Hurley 6 days ago

    The LIGO facility thought that they had detected gravity but later they found out that someone had farted in the bathroom.

  • sotsx
    sotsx 7 days ago


  • Zes
    Zes 8 days ago

    no such thing as awe inpx energy, no such thing as simple enough to tx, can tell anyx. idts

  • NinjaOnANinja
    NinjaOnANinja 8 days ago

    That is the precision I use when I am pleasing my ladies B ]

  • Orgil The Observant
    Orgil The Observant 10 days ago

    I am so excited about the future since we haven't discovered the majority of all things. Like Newton said, great scientists are usually just little boys playing on the seaside picking up a pebble or two while the vast ocean lies undiscovered. I hope to make a contribution towards our understanding of the universe at some point too. You Derek, definitely make a good contribution my man. Thank you for these videos.

  • Mark Balunis
    Mark Balunis 10 days ago

    Nice, I dug this.

  • dorgesh
    dorgesh 10 days ago

    please tell me that they didnt make their measurements in inches

  • Don't Know
    Don't Know 11 days ago

    DAMN!!! People are way too smart...!!! & i am extremely DUMB...!!!

  • Don't Know
    Don't Know 11 days ago

    Thats right!!! this whole thing is bogus... shut it down...!!!

  • James Simpson
    James Simpson 11 days ago

    "This whole thing is bogus! Shut it down!"

    What a guy...

  • Myrtena
    Myrtena 11 days ago

    If the light gets streched, doesnt it go faster than light in the time of the expansion ?

  • Cuhail Efendi
    Cuhail Efendi 12 days ago

    i Understand Everything.

  • AZOffRoadster
    AZOffRoadster 13 days ago

    I wonder if LIGO detected the cave in of the tunnel housing the nuclear waste nearby?

  • Blade Mercy
    Blade Mercy 13 days ago

    so, what's the purpose? to prove a theory?

  • levhart
    levhart 14 days ago

    he looks like a fakin Morpheus!

  • kdmc40
    kdmc40 15 days ago

    If I wanted to measure gravitational waves I'd just observe the moon. As it orbits the earth it creats a gravitational wave which can drag the entire oceans all over the place. No fancy equipment needed, just a pair of wellies, LoL 😂

  • kdmc40
    kdmc40 15 days ago

    Heres the way I see it. Firstly, pretend theres only two objects in the universe. No matter how far apart they are theres going to be a gravitational connection. Otherwise the gravitational calculation between the two bodies would at some point be zero, it never is. Now take 1 black hole, the gravitational effect goes on for ever but its constant, meaning gravity does not have a frequency. Now take 2 black holes in relative close proximity which are in orbit around one another and suddenly the gravitational effect has a frequency. Its the frequency you are trying to detect. What I cant understand about all this is how could gravitational waves not be there! The reason they are difficult to detect is the universe is full of interacting gravity fields and the distance at which the gravitational waves were created!

  • Zyroos félix
    Zyroos félix 15 days ago


  • Meelek Edits
    Meelek Edits 15 days ago

    This sounds like a big waste of money

  • Hans
    Hans 16 days ago

    The dude with the glasses reminded me if Kumar (from the movie "Harold & Kumar") became a physicist.

  • Peter 24
    Peter 24 16 days ago

    So , the most logical step is to ask : Why did they want to detect gravitational waves in the first place , i mean , for what practical purpose ? Or this is just a money washing machine ?

  • erikig
    erikig 17 days ago

    Rana Adhikari looks like the scientist you have to drag out of the bar to save the world at the end of a sci-fi movie when the pencil necked number cruncher have failed

  • Sameopet
    Sameopet 17 days ago

    Humans are amazing

  • MyDick Burns
    MyDick Burns 18 days ago

    Meaning the earth don't spin!

  • David Hutchinson
    David Hutchinson 18 days ago

    How do they know the gravity came from two black holes?Is that just a hypothesis of what could create such massive energy? I mean, how do they know that the black hole thing was specifically what caused the disturbance?

  • Mr. Swordfish
    Mr. Swordfish 18 days ago

    It looks like they took a roll of aluminum foil and sealed it around the pipes of the laser lol

  • blackgriffinxx
    blackgriffinxx 19 days ago

    nature is like dale from king of the hills It just crazy and stupid by smart as a fox

  • Tristan Cooper
    Tristan Cooper 19 days ago

    1/10,000th* of the diameter of a proton over

    Both detector establishments detected something simultaneously.......something, not necessarily gravity waves.

    * ( At 1:55 he cites 1/10,000 the width of a proton; at 7:20 it's changed to 1/1000th the width of a proton )

  • ashwadhwani
    ashwadhwani 20 days ago

    Bs about bs

  • Ruslan B
    Ruslan B 21 day ago

    what if the signal came not from space but from earth center? I guess both USA detectors will show gravitation waves simultaneously from earth center.... and the source of the wave is under the question black hole or earth center.

  • Carter Barnett
    Carter Barnett 21 day ago

    I'm sure that there would be hundreds of problems with my idea, but theoretically, couldn't we build that facility in space once we have the capabilities to limit noise and have a much better vacuum?

  • Mark
    Mark 22 days ago

    God he's beautiful

  • simon p
    simon p 22 days ago

    Jesus iron your shirt

  • Nenad Bogoevski
    Nenad Bogoevski 23 days ago

    4:45 lol

  • Ima Tumor
    Ima Tumor 24 days ago

    This is pretty intense science. I wanna see the 1 megawatt laser vaporize a head. Use an Arkansas Death Row inmate...... it would be quick(.000000000001) seconds

  • User 568701996
    User 568701996 24 days ago

    How did someone managed get Govt grants on this research.
    1 MW Laser plant?

  • Moonlight Gaming
    Moonlight Gaming 24 days ago

    Talk English!!

  • ericsbuds
    ericsbuds 25 days ago

    how long do they run the laser? that is a lot of electricity! we need something better than fossil fuels :(

  • ericsbuds
    ericsbuds 25 days ago

    freakin amazing. we built two of them far apart just to compare the results for local effects.

  • Winterturtle
    Winterturtle 25 days ago

    You should have mentioned the fact that the mirrors bounce the light back along the arms 280 times essentially making it 1120 km long

  • BMan18
    BMan18 25 days ago

    Disappointed. No control, no way to confirm the validity.

  • R k
    R k 25 days ago

    Rana Adhikari is from Nepal not India lol

  • Jesse Glanville
    Jesse Glanville 26 days ago

    is this serious? wtf is going on? we give these people money to come to conclusions of nonsense? I can make stuff up for free!

  • Dario Cangialosi
    Dario Cangialosi 28 days ago

    ...and at the end of the video you may wonder whether to believe it or not, because you cannot do quite anything else than just... believing...!

  • Mulakush
    Mulakush 28 days ago

    It is amazing how magical the technique of interference is. It has been used to make large scientific advances. Examples:
    - Proving the wave nature of light,
    - Proving the wave nature of electron and other particles,
    - Proving that there was no 'ether' through which light travels.
    - And now this gravitational wave detection experiment.
    I am sure there are others I do not know about.
    I would like Versatium to make a video about this if possible.

  • Truls Henriksson
    Truls Henriksson 28 days ago

    When a professor is introduced with a clip of himself doing a bunch of weird noises, that's when I get really interested.

  • M3rc1fu7Mast3r
    M3rc1fu7Mast3r 29 days ago

    What's the purpose of the sunglasses you guys wear? If the laser is powerful enough to vaporize you, what good will the sunglasses do?

  • Michael Thompson
    Michael Thompson 29 days ago

    This presents me with a question. Probably more a thinking exercise.
    So if I understand correctly, Einstein's theory of special relativity tries to explain how gravity stretches space and time. does that mean that we, on our earth, are living in this state of stretches space and time whereas outside any gravitational pull would be some sort of default space / time stretch?

    • nightjarflying
      nightjarflying 23 days ago

      "Quite interesting" suggests to me you are a Brit - same as myself. Read up on Lorentz - I consider him to be a match to Einstein & Feynman

    • Michael Thompson
      Michael Thompson 23 days ago

      of course, the answer is in the name hahaha.
      Excellent, thank you very much for your reply, I found it quite interesting.

    • nightjarflying
      nightjarflying 23 days ago

      @Michael Thompson Einstein's first thought experiment showed that you [the observer] moving in an elevator shaft is equivalent to not moving [relative to that shaft], but being in a gravity field instead. By "default space/time stretch" I suppose you mean a region of 'flat' space/time, BUT the 'curve' [or stretch if you like] of a particular point in space/time depends on your velocity as well as the gravitational field at that point - two observers at that point would experience a different 'stretch' [or curve] of space/time if their velocities are different. There is no absolute "default", hence the term 'relative' or 'relativity'. I hope that helps. Look up Hendrik Lorentz, the Dutch physicist, & his Lorentz Transformations - his insights paved the way for Einstein's Relativity.

  • Robert Thomas
    Robert Thomas 29 days ago

    Another boondoggle

  • jody mondor
    jody mondor 1 month ago

    you can't measure time of a field that is instantaneous.

  • Zach Washington
    Zach Washington 1 month ago

    Haha I work on this at Caltech. Awesome stuff. Great vid

  • Ryon Hovey
    Ryon Hovey 1 month ago

    "This whole thing in bogus! SHUT IT DOWN!"

  • Jimmy Wang
    Jimmy Wang 1 month ago


  • xViRuSx
    xViRuSx 1 month ago

    Alright now what can we do with it?

  • JohnnyM
    JohnnyM 1 month ago

    Black holes do not exist

  • Wake UpMofo'ers
    Wake UpMofo'ers 1 month ago

    batshit crazy,  who wants to star a lab together,  we just might need  10 to the 18 billion doll$,  lets do it !

  • David Dalmazzo
    David Dalmazzo 1 month ago

    awesome! awesome!

  • Kaeben
    Kaeben 1 month ago

    So... why is it so absurd?

  • Noeraldin Kabam
    Noeraldin Kabam 1 month ago

    First aid kit: In case the laser vaporized your head.

  • Jack Wright
    Jack Wright 1 month ago

    I call troll on Isaiah.

  • TheTomBevis
    TheTomBevis 1 month ago

    Just give it another 50 years. We may have gravity-wave detectors in our cell phones.

  • Isaac Kotlicky
    Isaac Kotlicky 1 month ago

    what I find interesting is that this is just an upscaled version of the Michelson-Morely experiment used to disprove the existence of aether, and a billion times more technically advanced to minimize noise.

  • aMulliganStew
    aMulliganStew 1 month ago

    "If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not top it off with breakfast at Milliways, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe."

  • deisisase
    deisisase 1 month ago

    What would happen if that black hole merger happened 10 light-years away?

  • YoyoMagic
    YoyoMagic 1 month ago

    You're suggesting that the big bang was the cause of two black holes colliding. That is pure speculation. And you call yourself a scientist.

  • Дмитрий Шум

    crazy Money to nowhere

  • Vincent Car
    Vincent Car 1 month ago

    How can you not like this video? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me optimistic about mankind, absolutely amazing

  • Allen Pellerin
    Allen Pellerin 1 month ago

    Oh I understand now. And to think I thought scientists were only lying to keep their jobs and budgets for another 5 years. Truly the king has no Clothes!! And for my next trick I will pull a black hole out of my @SS.

  • Itzal'Archives
    Itzal'Archives 1 month ago

    After watching 3 times i finally understand what they were talking about. Did you guys get it on the first try?

  • Giorgio's adventures in Pripyat with V. Putin

    Fookin' laser beams

  • FodderBoi
    FodderBoi 1 month ago

    More impressive than the science: How did they fund such a huge experiment and how do they constantly use so much power and pay for it?

  • Darker Sandman
    Darker Sandman 1 month ago

    whait? ive heard gravity bends light around mass, but now it stretches it..would that just change the frequency?

  • Steph G
    Steph G 1 month ago

    A true scientist's shirt. Never seen an iron in its life.

  • Michael Reilly
    Michael Reilly 1 month ago

    1MW of CW single-frequency 1064nm laser light doesn't sound right. This would be a remarkable feat. I'm sure the average laser power in the arms is only on the order of 100s of milliwatts, it may be a pulsed laser system?

  • A Ginger Heathen
    A Ginger Heathen 1 month ago

    I wonder if this could be used to detect warp engines.

  • sheppy001
    sheppy001 1 month ago

    All I got from that was that they built a big fancy machine. Dunno what it does though

  • Compuguy123 - Ghetto Mods/Gameplay

    That's a pretty big Michelson Morley Experiment

  • AllisterCaine
    AllisterCaine 1 month ago

    I would have asked him what the sunglasses are for if after all the laser would vaporize him anyway if something went wrong.

  • Kel Duck
    Kel Duck 1 month ago

    Seems to me they need to add a third vertical arm although drilling 4 kms down will be problematic.

  • hydragirium
    hydragirium 1 month ago

    O "absurdo" da detecção das Ondas Gravitacionais.

  • Douglas Weatherford
    Douglas Weatherford 1 month ago

    Its sorta like not wanting to know how hot dogs are made, it takes all the awe or mystery out of it and makes it tedious and technical

  • Erik Tempelman
    Erik Tempelman 1 month ago

    Astoundingly absurd indeed. Thanks for making and sharing: I had NO idea that the detectors are this complex, almost rivalling the LHC.

  • Pi Van
    Pi Van 1 month ago

    isn't the time stretched as well?

  • Richard Bergin
    Richard Bergin 1 month ago

    makes me wonder whether they really detected anything. We seem a little too sure of ourselves sometimes.

  • David Luckett
    David Luckett 1 month ago

    If you are expecting a tiny shift in tens of thousands of a billionths then you will get some kind of result simply by expecting it. Does not prove gravitational waves.

    • David Luckett
      David Luckett 1 month ago

      I believe reality is sort of like Superposition I mean where is the proof If a Tree falls in the woods but no one is there does it make a noise kinda of thing? If you observe it, of course you hear a noise. If you put a camera there again you hear a noise. But if there were no observable or mechanical means does it make a noise now that is the question? Testing for gravitational waves is sort of like the double slit experiment of an electron. Same thing with such a very infinitesimal result researchers could pretty much believe in a result that they themselves intended to believe in thereby justifying additional funding to keep the research going it is very laughable really. Reality such as Time does not exist it exists in your mind.

    • Vladislav Dracula
      Vladislav Dracula 1 month ago

      What do you mean?

  • David Luckett
    David Luckett 1 month ago

    At least the guy was Honest it is Bogus but hey you get the funding for nonsense and what an easy life pays good!

  • drjeopyl
    drjeopyl 1 month ago

    Yo momma so fat, when she turns her car Ligo thought it was real.

  • MrInconspicuous
    MrInconspicuous 1 month ago

    5:36 quantum mechanics in a nutshell. EVERYBODY SHOULD LEARN UNIFIED FIELD THEORY and then come back and figure out what happened. Quantum mechanics and relativity will never explain the world as it is. Everyone should stop trying to quantify fields, because that's literally just slowing us down. Photons and gravitons and neutrinos don't exist. Really? Attributing light to a unit and then calling it massless doesnt work? Exactly. I wonder when humanity as a whole will understand real science.

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