Prof. Christopher Messenger (University of Glasgow)
In 1916 Albert Einstein showed that gravitational waves were a natural consequence of his theory of general relativity (GR) . Nothing much was done about this feature of GR until the 1950s since it was deemed to be either an unphysical mathematical oddity or simply too unfathomably small to ever be useful. In fact, if they were to ever be detected then the only things in the universe that could generate them would be exotic astrophysical objects exhibiting highly dynamic behaviour. 100 years on, based on the vision of a handful of key players and the hard work of thousands of others, we are now able to detect these ripples in space-time and obtain an entirely new view of the universe.