60 Indian scientists part of gravitational waves discovery

Mumbai: In a landmark discovery scientists have detected gravitational waves, hypothesised by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago.

Announced on Thursday, this opens a new window for studying the cosmos. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” said California Institute of Technology physicist David Reitze, triggering applause at a packed news conference in Washington.

Indian scientists, more than 60 in all, also played a major role in the scientific breakthrough.Sanjeev Dharundhar, professor emeritus at the Inter-University Centre of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune, was one of the 1,000 key scientists involved in detecting the gravitational waves.

As early as 1980’s when the world was keen on electromagnetic waves, he was adamant about the existence of this scientific marvel. The scientific community was not very receptive when the Pune born scientist suggested the existence of these weak waves which can help detect black holes.

Despite the spectism, in the year 1989, he was brought into IUCAA, Pune by Jayant Narlikar (founder-director, IUCAA) to help develop techniques for the detection of the signals.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) – the discovery portal for the gravitational waves — finished construction in 1999 in United States, and Dharundhar led various groups to research this theory based on the data provided by these observatories.

Today many of his students have contributed to the phenomenal discovery in various parts of the world. Prime Minister Modi also expressed his joy on the social media platform, Twitter, for India’s contribution in this discovery.