The secrets of physics in focus at the Herrenhausen Late event

How loud was the Big Bang?

March 17, 2014

Complete silence prevails in our universe. The reason: In the vacuum of space, sound waves cannot develop or spread. And therefore there was, and still is nothing to hear from the Big Bang. Or is there? At the Herrenhausen Late event on 21 March, physicists from Hannover will report on the eavesdropping operation targeting the universe, warped space and ever-expanding outer space.

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Michele Heurs, Dr. Sascha Skorupka and Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann search for answers to questions about the Big Bang, black holes and dark matter. © Isabel Winarsch für VolkswagenStiftung
Der Kosmos birgt noch viele Geheimnisse. © Isabel Winarsch für VolkswagenStiftung
The physicists search with very sensitive detectors for gravitational waves. © Isabel Winarsch für VolkswagenStiftung

As early as 1916, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of tiny ripples in space, so-called gravitational waves. These arise when large masses move quickly – for example by stellar explosions, by black holes that orbit each other and perhaps even by the Big Bang itself. In a sense, these waves are the sound of the universe. The existence of gravitational waves has, in the meantime, been proven beyond all doubt; the direct measurement of spacetime ripples, however, is still pending. Or put another way: No one has yet actually heard the sound of the universe.

Today, in their search for gravitational waves, scientists tune into the depths of the cosmos and are expecting to hear their first “audio samples” within the next few years. This new window to the universe, our perception of outer space and the attempt to solve some of the greatest mysteries of our universe are the focus of reports by the physicists Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann and Jun.-Prof. Dr. Michèle Heurs, both from Leibniz Universität Hannover and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, as well as Dr. Sascha Skorupka from Leibniz Universität Hannover.

In space no one can hear you scream! What does the Big Bang sound like?

Friday, 21 March 2014, 8:30 p.m. Festsaal, Herrenhausen Palace Conference Centre, Hannover

Admission is free, registration is not required. Capacities are limited, admission is from 8:00 p.m.

Background information Herrenhausen Late event:

“Herrenhausen Late – ScienceMusicFriends”, a series of events sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation in cooperation with Leibniz Universität Hannover and Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, is aimed at young audiences with a lively interest in science. Knowledgeable experts shed light on original topics from the world of science from an entertaining perspective. For this purpose, the organizers will transform the ballroom of Herrenhausen Palace into a lounge with DJ, seating areas and a bar that offers free beverages.

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