Nobel Prize-worthy

technology report online, February 2016

Sensational news for astronomers and physicists: Gravitational waves are no longer just one of Einstein’s theories. Quartz glass from Heraeus makes a decisive contribution to the discovery.

Heraeus Quartz glass Source: Heraeus
Gravitational waves detected with help from high-purity quartz glass from Heraeus: The optical components of the instruments, which are essential for the measurements in the gravitational detectors, contain Heraeus Suprasil® 3001. (Source: Heraeus)

Are you familiar with Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity? You probably remember learning about it in your physics class in school. Einstein theorized that the three dimensions of space could be interwoven with time into four-dimensional space-time. He reimagined gravity as a warping of dimensions of space and time.

An international team of experts has succeeded for the very first time in detecting a faint ripple in space-time, which was caused by a collision of two black holes.
This is a sensational discovery.

Imagine throwing a rock into water to create waves. Gravitational waves are “wrinkles” in space-time, emanating from distant astrophysical events such as supernovas and black holes.

Ultrapure quartz glass increased the sensitivity of the enormous measuring instruments, enabling them to detect the waves. It was an experiment that posed technical challenges for Heraeus experts and stretched the very limits of what is technically feasible.

One hundred years after Einstein’s theory, gravitational waves are no longer just a theory. Isn’t that worthy of a Nobel Prize?

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

(Albert Einstein, 1954)