Josh Goldberg and the physical reality of gravitational waves
- 915 Downloads
In this article, I pay tribute to the contributions made by Josh Goldberg toward our understanding that gravitational waves are genuine physical predictions of general relativity. Josh played a central role in developing our understanding of how a binary star system generates gravitational waves. Another key contribution came through his patronage of the 1957 Chapel Hill Conference, in his role as funding officer for the Air Force’s support of research in gravitation. I examine in detail the discussion at the Chapel Hill Conference, and show how the question of the reality of gravitational waves was resolved by a recognition that one could, in principle, construct a detector for such waves. I trace the implications of this resolution in the work of Joseph Weber, who attended the Chapel Hill Conference, and of Rainer Weiss, who did not attend but who carefully studied the key paper that Felix Pirani presented there. I conclude with a brief discussion of how a few minor remaining puzzles were resolved some years later.
KeywordsGravitational waves Quadrupole formula
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 3.Kennefick D. (2005). Controversies in the history of the radiation reaction problem in general relativity. In: Goenner, H., Renn, J., Ritter, J. and Sauer, T. (eds) The expanding worlds of general relativity (Einstein studies, volume 7), pp 207–234. Birkhauser, Boston Google Scholar
- 5.Goldberg J.N. (1992). US air force support of general relativity 1956–1972. In: Eisenstaedt, J. and Kox, A.J. (eds) Studies in the history of general relativity (Einstein studies, volume 3), pp 89–102. Birkhauser, Boston Google Scholar
- 6.DeWitt, C.M., Rickles, D.: Conference on the role of gravitation in physics. In: Proceedings of conference at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, January 18–23, 1957. (Wright Air Development Center (WADC) technical report 57–216, United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson air force base, Ohio (1957))Google Scholar
- 8.Preskill J. and Thorne K.S. (1995). Foreword. In: Hatfield, B. (eds) Feynman lectures on gravitation, pp vii–xxx. Addison-Wesley, Reading MA Google Scholar
- 9.Pirani, F.A.E.: On the physical significance of the Riemann tensor. Acta Phys. Polon. 15, 389 (1956), (reprinted in Gen. Relativ. Gravit. 41, 1215 (2009))Google Scholar
- 14.Goldberg, J.N.: Private communication, March 2011Google Scholar
- 18.Sciama, D., Weber, J., Kafka, P., Drever, R., Tyson T.: Gravitational waves: panel discussion. In: Shaviv, G., Rosen, J. (eds.) General relativity and gravitation, proceedings of GR7, Tel Aviv University, June 23–28, 1974, pp. 243–298. Wiley, New York (1974)Google Scholar
- 20.Weiss, R.: Electromagnetically coupled broadband gravitational antenna, Quarterly Progress Report of the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, No. 105, pp. 54–76 (1972); available online at http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/56271/RLE_QPR_105_V.pdf?sequence=1