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Documenting the discovery of gravitational waves

14 February 2017

Gravitational waves
LIGO scientists detect gravitational wave signal from the merging of two black holes.

A new book by Professor Harry Collins offers a real-time account of one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries ever made.

One year on from the announcement that gravitational waves had been detected, Gravity’s Kiss explores the initial discovery and the events that unfolded in the lead up to the announcement in February 2016.

Published by MIT Press, the book is structured as a week-by-week journal of the five months from detection to announcement. This is the first time this level of detail about the discovery has been documented; privy to internal discussion, Professor Collins has been able to share previously unseen conversation — from the first email sent after the gravitational waves were detected.

While Professor Collins’ previous works on the subject have focussed on the efforts to discover gravitational waves, it is only since September 2015 that Professor Collins has been able to document the real-life detection.

As a Sociologist of Science, Professor Harry Collins has been involved in the gravitational waves community since 1972, writing for over 40 years on the sociology of gravitational wave physics.

Gravity’s Kiss has received praise from the academic community for its sincere and detailed account and Nature’s Davide Castelvecchi applauded the book in a recent review.

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