Monday, February 28, 2005

Be An Einstein

You are invited to participate in one of the most far-reaching scientific experiments in history.

Einstein@Home LogoOne of the predictions of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity field equations is that a large acceleration of mass produces a ripple in space-time called a gravitational wave. A better understanding of gravitational waves would be of enormous significance in helping us to understand how the universe works. Unfortunately until recently there has been no way to detect or study this phenomenon.

Scientists believe that exploding stars, binary pulsars, and certain other massive space objects produce gravitational waves, and to study them, facilities have been set up at the U.S. Laser Interferometry Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO, as well as the British-German GEO-600 gravity-wave observatory. Observations have begun and massive amounts of data are being collected, all of which must be analyzed before they can become useful.

Unfortunately only a super-supercomputer could handle these data. That's where you come in.

Einstein@Home is a collaborative project involving many thousands of computers around the world which collect and crunch smaller portions of data, sending the results back to project scientists for final analysis.

I have been running Einstein@Home on my home computer for several weeks. The program was easy to set up, runs invisibly in the background during my idle computing time, and does not slow down my system in any way. I can see the results of my work in archive and real-time, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I am contributing to the advancement of science.

To find out more and start your own adventure in scientific discovery go to Einstein@Home at

Once you get running it may take up to a week for you to receive credit for your work since your results will be validated against other computers for accuracy.

Then give yourself a nice pat on the back.

-- Dalton Hammond

My Backyard Astronomy Page

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