How Richard Feynman Convinced The Naysayers 60 Years Ago That Gravitational Waves Are Real

Paul Halpern in Forbes:

Image-2Confronted with a theoretical question, such as whether or not gravitational waves exist, Richard Feynman never trusted authorities. Rather, he tried to develop and convince himself of a solution in the simplest way possible, constructing an argument from first principles. Once he managed to build a case for a particular point of view in his own mind, he felt equipped to persuade others. At the first American conference on general relativity, GR1, held in Chapel Hill in January 1957, Feynman offered a brilliant argument that gravitational waves must carry energy. The argument anticipated by almost sixty years the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) discovery, announced in February 2016, that confirmed the reality of gravitational waves.

How in the world did Feynman end up at a general relativity conference? Wasn’t he immersed in quantum electrodynamics (QED) and the world of particle physics? True, those were his major areas, recognized by his Nobel Prize and other accolades, but as with many other brilliant thinkers he had broad interests.
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