# Physicist Explains Gravitational Waves to Steve Colbert

#### HardOCP News

##### [H] News
Sick of trying to explain to people what gravitational waves are and why they are important? Show them this video.

#### wgm3446

##### Gawd
Way out of my league but I did come across this video to counter what he said. I'm curious to see these two guys get into a discussion over a beer with this.

#### Zarathustra[H]

##### Extremely [H]
The part I don't understand is as follows:

We know that the fancy laser measuring equipment (LIGO?) has detected a very small difference in distance.

How do we know fornsure that this distance is created by gravitational waves? Isn't it possible it could be seismic activity, you know, a train going by a few miles away, or some other phenomenon?

#### Nenu

##### [H]ardened
Because they can verify whether other instruments pick that up as well.

My explanation of gravitational waves is dead simple.
A change in gravity is not felt immediately at a great distance, it takes a very small time for the effect to propagate out.
For that not to be true suggests that gravities effect takes no time to make its effect. Not feasible.
It just needed detecting.

The downside is, what celestial objects are you actually picking up waves from?
Without multiple detectors its not easy to determine direction and the signal is so weak.
Probability has to figure highly.

ps not watched video, not easy where I am.

D

#### dceremuga

##### Guest
You know, I enjoyed the video, I just can't stand Colbert.

#### bigdogchris

##### Fully [H]
How do we know fornsure that this distance is created by gravitational waves? Isn't it possible it could be seismic activity, you know, a train going by a few miles away, or some other phenomenon?
Well, for one, the gravitational wave detector was operational for a decade at a lower power state and was tuned to rule out seismic activity from the beginning. They know what seismic activity looks like. Seismic activity is billions of times stronger than what they are even looking for so there is absolutely no way the two can be confused.

The upgraded detectors, one in Louisiana and the other in Washington, both detected the same signal, but one detected the signal later than the other. The time difference was equal to how long a gravity wave would take to reach the other detector. Seismic, sound, or any other earth based phenomena would not propagate at that speed. But you could say gravitational waves are like seismic activity of space-time.

#### Zarathustra[H]

##### Extremely [H]
You know, I enjoyed the video, I just can't stand Colbert.

He's toned his thing down a lot since the Colbert Report to appeal to a broader audience, and in the process I feel he has lost something. While he was only funny to a certain subgroup of the population before, now I feel he just isn't that funny at all anymore. Occasionally he'll get a smirk out of me, but that's about it.

It's almost as if he toned down his previous style, and merged his new lower intensity style with that of Letterman, and the result is less fun.

#### M76

##### [H]F Junkie
Way out of my league but I did come across this video to counter what he said. I'm curious to see these two guys get into a discussion over a beer with this.

Taking it to an ego/money place right in the first sentence. That's not a clever way to start a scientific discussion. Basically looses all credibility in my eyes, when you admit that you have an agenda apart from scientific truth.

#### sfsuphysics

##### [H]F Junkie
Way out of my league but I did come across this video to counter what he said. I'm curious to see these two guys get into a discussion over a beer with this.
Stopped as soon as I heard him saying "Idiot scientists seeking more funding".... But OMG I have a youtube channel and here's a video why

#### bigdogchris

##### Fully [H]
That guy's logic is completely backwards. The fact that science is not a thing, it's a process, tells us that when someone makes a claim that claim can be peer reviewed and reproduced. Making up data would be the first way to lose funding, not get more funding.

Secondly, who would of thought something like discovering fundamental forces of existence of our universe would have a cost associated to it? I'd rather money go towards that that than most other things people spend money on.

#### sfsuphysics

##### [H]F Junkie
He's toned his thing down a lot since the Colbert Report to appeal to a broader audience, and in the process I feel he has lost something. While he was only funny to a certain subgroup of the population before, now I feel he just isn't that funny at all anymore. Occasionally he'll get a smirk out of me, but that's about it.

It's almost as if he toned down his previous style, and merged his new lower intensity style with that of Letterman, and the result is less fun.
Yup, he old characters was basically a mockery of all the hardcore conservative pundits on Fox et.al., and there was brilliance in that, of course if you are a hardcore conservative person then you probably didn't find his brand of comedy funny. That said at the end of the day 99% of it is what writers write, and how to act the character that they make. Most comedians aren't inherently funny, it's other people who are the funny ones the comedian is simply the person who gets credit for the laughs, however in a live format you need to have some quick wit as well and have the ability to go off script/work around your guests, otherwise you do sound like a dead comic.

#### rbarr110

##### Limp Gawd
Way out of my league but I did come across this video to counter what he said. I'm curious to see these two guys get into a discussion over a beer with this.

I don't put a lot of weight in a guy with a youtube channel and really bad tattoos. He may be intelligent, but if he is so brilliant to discredit these claims, why isn't he on the team of scientists working on these theories rather than youtube?

#### pxc

##### Extremely [H]
The downside is, what celestial objects are you actually picking up waves from?
Without multiple detectors its not easy to determine direction and the signal is so weak.
Probability has to figure highly.

ps not watched video, not easy where I am.
There are 2 LIGO detectors in different parts of the country. Using triangulation, it can figure out where the source of the signal is coming from. The source of the gravity waves came from 2 black holes in the process of merging. It's true that the effect is small: less than the width of an atomic nucleus (so measuring it with the I in LIGO is important). The signal is periodic, and not the result of "an earthquake" or other random effect. The measured waves matched theoretical predictions: an explanation wasn't simply plucked from an observation. First observation of gravitational waves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

#### Ehren8879

##### Supreme [H]ardness
Way out of my league but I did come across this video to counter what he said. I'm curious to see these two guys get into a discussion over a beer with this.

Checking out this guy's channel, and yup, he's a kook.

#### Scizyr

##### Limp Gawd
We've seen an anomaly in both of our laser experiments, but not at the same time.
It obviously must be gravitational waves from 2 black holes billions of light years away!
There is no possible way radiation from a solar flare could interfere with our light based laser experiment!
No, it's gravitational waves!
That travel through space time!
At what speed?
Who cares! Gravitational waves guys!
Gravitational waves!

#### pxc

##### Extremely [H]
We've seen an anomaly in both of our laser experiments, but not at the same time.
^This is what happens when 1) you comment without knowing anything about the topic at all and 2) the bath salts are just starting to wear off.

#### Rupert23

##### n00b
I registered just because I'm getting annoyed with how non critical and dogmatic "science" has become lately, and post some links to alternative explanations for the findings. But now I cannot post links, but let me try this.

For some alternate explanations go to youtube, add "watch?v=" after the url and "45BGbnJykPo" and "J3Hoax81rkI".

#### sfsuphysics

##### [H]F Junkie
There is no possible way radiation from a solar flare could interfere with our light based laser experiment! !
Hey, you said something that's absolutely true. There is no possible way that radiation from a solar flare can get inside a sealed tube to affect laser light!

I loved how just threw in the term solar flare, as a neat little buzz phrase to make it sound like you knew some high level scientific stuff.

#### SvenBent

##### 2[H]4U
talking about other people needs attention....has his hand full of tattoos and has youtube channel ?
Call other scientist idiots constantly... such a scientific way to debate.

#### RVWinkle

##### Limp Gawd
I registered just because I'm getting annoyed with how non critical and dogmatic "science" has become lately, and post some links to alternative explanations for the findings. But now I cannot post links.

I'm not going to look at those videos because you're not above the hyperlinking rule that's in place for a reason but I just wanted to say that I feel the opposite with the rampant anti-intellectualism that permutates our lives. For example, I really get hung up on things like when presidential candidates proclaim vaccinations cause autism. The video linked in this thread is another example, dude calls Einstein an idiot, come on.

#### GoodBoy

##### 2[H]4U
That was really cool.

That guy on youtube only thinks he is smart...