Unit 2: “The Billion Year Wave” Reading Response

Get the discussion on this article started by posting your reading response here. Please remember that you will need to post your response and then read other students' responses and post a reply.

In this essay, scientific surprises and accidental discoveries pave the way toward one of the most significant advances in space history to date.

Start the discussion off by considering how   intangible discoveries inform our understanding of the tangible universe. How can these ideas be made accessible to the average person?   Is Twilley successful in her efforts?

Finally - use "Writing Excellent Thesis Statements" to identify and summarize Twilley's thesis.

Write your response in a comment to this page.

32 thoughts on “Unit 2: “The Billion Year Wave” Reading Response

  1. Conall Birkholz

    When thinking about “intangible discoveries”, I think what constitutes as intangible can very depending on the person asked. But when space and physics discoveries are announced, I think almost most people consider new discoveries in physics “intangible” due to their mind-bending complexity. The actual measurement of gravitational waves which was discussed in the essay, confirming what Einstein predicted in 1916, is very remarkable and pushes the boundaries of science with what is observable in our universe. One way this experiment was described in the essay that made me realize the significance of the discovery that much more, was how it described that originally the universe was only observable to humanity through the light spectrum; x-rays, ultraviolet, visual spectrum, etc. But now with the ability to measure gravitational waves which also could be somehow turned into audio, showed just a fraction of the new possibilities of what is capable now with this new “viewing” technology. This comparison of how something has traditionally been done, to how it can be done now, informed me and made an “intangible discovery” tangible.
    The process of making these ideas tangible to the average person I think relies on the creativity of the scientists and artists/authors that work with the scientists. This essay as a part of this book made these ideas accessible to me. I think exploring media outlets to express discoveries or ideas is how an individual can make those ideas accessible to the public. This can include creating a blog, promoting it with social media, publishing books or papers, or giving conferences as some examples. I think Twilley is successful in her efforts to communicate this idea and its significance. She goes through the whole history of the topic which gives it a story feel and makes it more entertaining than say just stating statistics and figures.
    While the first few pages of Twilley’s paper consist of the story telling of the first detection of gravitational waves, I think her statement on pg. 44 constitutes as her thesis. “This morning, in a press conference in Washington, D.C., the LIGO team announced that the signal constitutes the first direct observation of gravitational waves.” In this statement she somewhat makes an assertion, and states the topic that she will be discussing, the LIGO facility and the measurement of gravitational waves. It is specific and narrows the papers topic. This thesis is more of an announcement, which means it isn’t the strongest thesis, but compared to every other paragraph end this quote was the most descriptive of the paper as a whole.

    1. Jessica Hernandez

      I like how you threw in the idea how physics could be considered “Intangible” because of how complex and mind bending it can be. Also, I totally get where you are coming from when you said you finally realized the significance the gravitational waves has on tangible everyday life. How do you think these scientist feel when they realize that these ideas that they are processing are only intangible at the moment?
      This is a great post, good luck throughout the semester.

    2. Olive Hager

      I agree that intangible is subjective. I also agree that the announcement wouldn’t make a very strong thesis statement.

    3. Travis H Winterton

      The ability to hear gravitational waves from space may not sound amazing to the common person, but when you mentioned that in the past we’ve only really been able to observe our known universe through the light spectrum really brings into light on how potentially big a discovery like this could be. Hopefully soon we are able to find a more piratical application for technology like this.

  2. Olive Hager

    Humanity has a lot of theories on how the universe works, but we must remember, most of it is just theories. As humanity has aged, emerging breakthroughs replace older ones and our understanding of the universe grows more sophisticated. It can be very exciting when we can capture enough data to support what we currently agree to be truth. Making these abstract ideas accessible to the average person requires giving some background on the scientists who made the discovery, their struggles, and what their discovery means. (Without going too far into detail.) When I began reading, I was wondering why it concerned me that some waves entered our galaxy, but by the end I was interested in the story, even though it doesn’t have much relevance in my life.

    Twilley’s thesis are the three sentences in the middle of the second paragraph that mention the prediction of the waves by Albert Einstein, the history of LIGO, and then when the waves were detected on Earth. These are the guideline for the rest of the story.

    1. Miranda Jackovich

      I thought you made great statements about how most ideas of how the universe works are theories. One thing that has always been interesting to me is how humans through time always have a need to make an idea up to understand something. We also are always work towards improving ourselves and our tools. I also agree with how the author was able to make the reading interesting even if it didn’t apply to everyday life.

  3. Jessica Hernandez

    With the discussion we had last week it stated that “The most precious currency of science is new ideas”. This ties in with the fact that before things become tangible you have to understand that since it’s just an idea. Understanding how black holes collide and create wave is something intangible and something now all believed in. It was one of those ideas someone had but could never make it tangible for people to really understand. These ideas can be made are accessible through many different ways included in the media, textbook, news articles. With the textbook in hand it made it really accessible for me. I think Twilley was definitely successful in her effort to explain how gravitational waves came from just an idea to a very tangible object to explain everything they were thinking.

    Twilley’s thesis seems to be on page 42 when she says, “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced member of the species, predicted the waves’ existence… Twenty two years ago, construction began on an enormous detector LIGO. Then, on September 14,2015, at just before 11 in the morning, Central European Time, the waves reached Earth”. Twilley explains all her points within just a couple sentences over everything she will be discussing later on in the essay.

    1. Christina Beaver

      I really like how you incorporated last weeks reading response and worked it into this one. It’s very true, without those new ideas the intangible would stay that way.

      1. Jerry Carroll

        I agree, it was a great idea to add in last weeks reading. I would have never thought to do it and it ties in well with this reading.

    2. Makayla Duhon

      I admire how you tied in last weeks reading and I agree with your response. Many people can be stubborn and don’t like to accept change and it’s even harder when they can’t see it for themselves. Technology has definitely made things more realistic.

  4. Christina Beaver

    People are often fascinated when the intangible sparks new tangible discoveries. LIGO went from an idea of a gravitational wave, intangible, to be able to create a “squiggle” on a computer and a “chirping” sound, something we can see and hear. If I had to say anything to a scientist it would be persistence, LIGO started this project in the 1990s after years of research, in 2015 they finally saw results. These new ideas, whether intangible or tangible, take time to formulate, grow and expand. As time moves forward, communication is spreading in even faster ways then we expected. For an average person to have access to this kinda information is just a click or two away.

    Twilley’s thesis is “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching…” Twilley here outlines and sparks our interest in LIGO.

    1. Olive Hager

      Right, in the age of information, anybody with an internet connection has access to the most recent breakthroughs, you can even live stream many of them!

    2. Logan Borger

      I agree that persistence is essential to progression. It was quite impressive that the program survived for so long without much to show for itself. It just goes to show how much sticking with something can pay off in the end.

  5. Daniel Allred

    It is the intangible that has driven humans to push for new discoveries. As human beings learn more and more about the world/universe around us the more we are able to push the envelopes of what is possible. If you had told Alexander Fleming in 1928 that his accidental discovery of penicillin was going to shape the health industry as we know it, 90 years later, I think even he might have “chuckled”. The point is one never knows how big or small a scientific discovery is going to be. Turning the intangible into tangible has been shaping human existence for a very long time.
    In 1543, a Polish astronomer named Nicholas Copernicus introduced a theory that stated the Sun was at the center of the solar system and it was actually the planets that revolved around it. Prior to that moment, it was the geocentric model for the universe that accepted, meaning the earth was the center of the universe. Many fought the claims, but in the end, we learned that the sun was in the center of the universe.
    Much like Copernicus, Einstein theorized that gravitational waves existed. Again many shrugged these claims off as nothing more than speculation. The discovery and recording of gravitational waves helped to not only proved a 100-year-old theory, but it also opened a new chapter in physics. Proving yet again, humans can take something intangible and develop methods to prove its existence.
    Twilley does a very good job in setting up her essay “The Billion-Year Wave” to give tangible evidence about an intangible concept. When Twilley says, “In the fraction of a second it took for the black holes to finally merge, they radiated a hundred times more energy than all the stars in the universe combined.” She explains something that is completely intangible. So, measuring the energy of black holes merging billions of years ago sounds more like science fiction than anything. She continues to provide excellent knowledge of the LIGO project while also using individuals that were involved as credible sources.
    In the essay “The Billion-Year Wave” by Nicola Twilley the reader is introduced to concepts that appear intangible. Throughout the essay, Twilley provides ample evidence and support to the claims that sometimes intangible doesn’t mean impossible. It is the very basis of science to question things and every time an answer is provided to these questions the entire human race is able to grow. While I can’t speculate on the impact gravitational waves will have on everyday life, their discovery could prove to be the “penicillin” of the physics world.
    Petr H., June 28, 2017. 25 Biggest Scientific Discoveries in the History of Mankind. https://list25.com/25-biggest-scientific-discoveries-in-history-of-mankind/

    Daniel Allred

    1. Seth

      It’s always interesting to see the different approaches that people will take to answer the same question. I can see that you did your research and I appreciate the Copernicus reference as something that was fought and fought and fought but eventually was proven correct. Gravitational waves were simply the next step in the never-ending quest to satiate humanity’s curiosity about the world, nay, the universe we live in.

  6. Lindsey Paulsen

    I find it interesting that the idea of the intangible gravitational waves manifested in the mind of a single ingenious man, and it was a century later that they were proven to exist. This is a blatant depiction of mankind’s ability to grow and evolve. The tangible universe began with tangible occurrences caused by intangible and unknown events. Many have proved the intangible elements of our universe to be very real, and changed the world as we saw it. Gravity, sound, and electromagnetic waves (ultraviolet, infrared light, microwaves, etc.) are all intangible forces and were once proven, efficiently, by our predecessors, who had even less resources than we have today. This is what made the construction of LIGO as phenomenal and exciting as Nicola Twilley explains it to be. Discovery itself begins with thoughts and concepts, both of which are also intangible.
    To discover something life changing is what remains most interesting to me. I admire the idea of scientists and researchers proving something they so strongly believe, and the satisfaction and emotions they must gain from their discovery. I cannot imagine much that would be more rewarding. The existence of gravitational waves and other discoveries or theories of the like are crucial to the growth of humanity and the understanding of our existence.
    The thesis of this essay, which I did not notice when I began reading, seems to be in the second paragraph of the first page (page 43 of the text). It is stated in three sentences as follows: “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the wave’s existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching. Twenty-two years ago, construction began on an enormous detector, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Then, on September 14th, 2015, at just before 11 in the morning, the waves reached earth”. This string of descriptive sentences effectively outlines and foreshadows the entirety of the essay. Twilley’s thesis is an intense attention-getter, and as much as I’ve learned from “The Billion-Year Wave”, I am excited to continue analyzing throughout the entire compilation of scientific essays between the covers of The Best American Science and Nature Writing (BASN).

  7. Travis H Winterton

    Advancements in science in of itself is and has always based on testing theories and ideas and trying to make what was once not known, known. Even today discoveries that are in the mind of the public still go under iterations and changes throughout the years with more discoveries. I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that finding new discoverers from theories and learning ways on how to apply them for piratical uses, which then will go and lead on to find new discoveries. It’s simply the cycle that science and scientific discoveries often goes though. In the case of the reading that we just did, we’ve only have been able to observe space and other aspects of space in terms of vision thought the forms of light and the light spectrum. Now with this discovery and being able to measure gravitational waves though sound, it has open the potential of another way to view our observable universe (even if we haven’t found a formal practical application for it yet).

    A part of how to apply piratical applications to intangible discoveries and finding ways to prove its existence is learning how we translate these abstract and relative discoveries, concepts, and ideas into a more understandable form, or simply even making these discoveries more known. This can come in many forms, from articles and pieces like Twilley’s, lectures, presentations, word of mouth or any sort of similar exposure. The effectiveness of course can vary greatly on who’s presenting, and how it is presented. Personally, I think Twilley did a fantastic job at convening and communicating what is otherwise a typically complex subject, going over its history while keeping a good pace and being able convey complex ideas in a understandable manner. I personally loved the way on how she describes on how she describes the movement of black holes as they orbit each other, saying how “they stretch and squeeze space time like children running in circles on a trampoline, creating vibrations that travel to the very edge;” (pg 44). I think it’s descriptions like these that Twilley and others do that help and allow the reader to easily visualize an otherwise abstract concept. Overall it was an extremely fascinating and fun piece, a part of which I think is on how well paced it was written.

    The thesis of the essay can be found on pg 43 within the second paragraph, which reads that “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching… On September 14, 2015, at just before 11 in the morning, Central European Time, the waves reached Earth. Macro Drago, a 32-year-old Italian postdoctoral student and member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, was the first person to notice them.” I personally think that the thesis does come in close territory of coming off as more of an “announcement” but I think it still works within the context of where it was written.

  8. Jerry Carroll

    When Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves he probably did not think that it would become such a great deal. To this day people are still working on how to calculate or prove the existence of these waves. Although there have been many years of research and new sensors, there has not been a clear answer to Einstein’s prediction.
    With new ideas such as gravitational waves, though these are difficult to prove, it sparks an interest in other scientists and it allows for years and years of tests and theories to try and find an answer to the universe. Even if these findings don’t lead to anything scientests can fine tune their studies and research to find more ways to find the answer.
    While data formulated can be difficult to understand, it can be broken down to “plain English” for the lesser informed in the science field to understand and read. Twilley did a great job at breaking down the “science language” in the reading, it was easy to read and undertand.
    The thesis of the essay is found on page 43 where it states,” A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching.”

  9. Miranda Jackovich

    I think society has to recognize intangible discoveries and what exactly it means for our understanding of the tangible universe. A good example in my mind of what intangible represents are emotions and thoughts. They exist but have no physical representation. The universe holds so many things that trying to understand it at a distance is difficult. Einstein’s theory of Gravitational-Wave is one example of humans trying to understand it. With that said I think for Twilley’s case she did a great job making the information given enjoyable to read. Starting off with the description of what is driving the paper was a good idea. Some topics are hard to make relevant, so catching the reader with description was an important factor. The best way to share information like this is usually with a social media platform.

    In the middle portion of the second paragraph Twilley shares her thesis statement, “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching.” (Twilley 43). This statement shares the five general rules of a thesis statement.

    1. Victoria Murdock

      I love how you incorporated our emotions and thoughts. That example fits really well with tangible and intangible things. Although everyone wont think about it in such a way. Our thoughts are intangible unless we put them to action. Our emotions are/ can be tangible depending on which emotion we show. This example really moved me!

  10. Rebekah Hamilton

    Intangible discoveries can realistically relay back to the person. Everybody grasps and understands information differently, processing and interpreting it in a different way. Albert Einstein predicted the waves existence and because of his simple prediction that scientific study took off and became a world renowned idea. Back in the day to get information across, anything paperbacked would have sufficed. Newspapers to books from the library but as time advanced, the best way to get news and information across is through technology. Researchers and scientists have found easier ways to connect this information with others, to YouTube channels, Bloggs, and personal websites created for this specific mean. Twilley is successful in her efforts to make this information accessible to the average person and does a great job executing it as well. Instead of just jumping into the idea and give out the basic information, she goes into grave detail about the scientists behind the project making the article a more interesting read. Her thesis was easily summed up in the second paragraph, “[P]redicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching. Twenty-two years ago, construction began on an enormous detector, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory(LIGO). Then, on September 14, 2015, at just before eleven in the morning, Central European Time, the waves reached Earth.”

  11. Victoria Murdock

    Intangible discoveries inform our understanding of the tangible universe by fully understanding first what it exactly means to be tangible and intangible. Once our mind can grasp the aspect it will become clearer. Once the intangible becomes tangible , us as a humanity tries to test every intangible theory to make it become what everyone thought it would be to start with. Just like Weber did for many years, he ran into many obstacles but never let up. It took his prototypes and other scientists to perfect it and make it what it turned out to be.
    Twilley was successful in her essay. She based her essay off of intangible aspects that people tried to prove. She proved it, in a tangible way for me to understand LIGO and what it was about. She also included evidence of series of events based on these projects and what they proved, and what had to be improved in order for it to be successful. She incorporated predictions from over one hundred years ago from Albert Einstein. I just think her topic was supported completely, and not over written, or over thought.

  12. Logan Borger

    Human beings thrive on curiosity, as it is a rather fundamental aspect of discovery. Whether or not the subject of our curiosity is tangible or not, does not define our urge to understand. Our curiosity is contagious and leads to more questions and more speculation. This is how science has progressed throughout history. Intangible discoveries, such as the phenomenon of this article, provide context to our place in the universe. Maybe these discoveries are intangible now, but perhaps they prompt more questions and discoveries until they bring about something that is tangible.
    Intangible discoveries can be made accessible to the average person through education and through most means of communication. Essays, articles, social media, and news broadcasts can all effectively spark the audience’s interest in this area.
    Twilley was successful in making these discoveries accessible. She was able to tell the story of LIGO and the discovery of gravitational waves, while also providing a positive outlook for future discoveries.
    Her thesis was: “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching.” This laid the groundwork for her entire essay.

  13. Seth

    To start a discussion regarding tangible and intangible discoveries we must first define exactly what we mean by each of these terms and how they relate. Put simply a tangible discovery is one that we can perceive with at least one of our 5 basic senses; touch, taste, smell, vision,or hearing. It is something that’s usefulness is inherent and generally obvious. An intangible discovery is the more convoluted of the two, it is something that we can’t perceive with our 5 senses, it is something that exists not in the physical realm but on the plane of thought. Things like ideas, concepts, an imperceptible forces fall into this category. It’s easy to see the usefulness of tangible discoveries; higher quality fuel, more efficient engines, better tasting food are all examples of useful tangible discoveries and their useful qualities are inherent without in in depth understanding of what they are. Now, intangible discoveries on the other hand are much harder to pin down in their exact usefulness and making these intangible discoveries available and understandable to the general public is exactly what Nicola Twilley is attempting, successfully, to do in “The Billion-Year Wave.”
    To start, Twilley must explain to the public what LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, even is and what it’s purpose is, and that’s just the groundwork. Furthermore, Twilley must relay in layman’s terms exactly what the phenomena is they are searching for and what it means now that it has been discovered. Overall, I admit that while i generally understand what the LIGO is and what they were looking for I fail to see the overall impact of this discovery, yet that is neither here nor there. Twililey spends less time on the impact this has on the world of physicist than she does on the people in that word, people like DR. Drago, Albert Einstein, and Dr. Weiss, the people who have seen this project evolve from theory to discovery. This seems to be an odd choice for Twilley to have made from an objective or utilitarian standpoint, but, it makes the narrative more relatable for the general public and she does an excellent job of humanizing these characters, these brilliant physicist that often seem out of the reach of the general population. Even if this is a description of an important discovery in physics being able to relate to the story on a personal level makes it that much more impactful for your average John Doe.
    Lastly, if I were to guess at Twilley’s thesis statement I believe it would go something like this: “ In 2015 an important discovery in physics, nearly 100 years after its conception, finally bore fruit thanks to LIGO and a team of brilliant physicist.

    1. Briana Shaffer

      Based on your definition, would you describe religion or the idea of a God or creator as tangible or intangible?

  14. Lane Ito

    Did you know black hole pairs existed? Before I read The Billion Year Wave, I thought gravitational waves were a work of science fiction, and I did not know black hole pairs were a real phenomenon. Additionally, I thought nothing ever could escape from a black hole’s intense gravitational pull.

    “Just over a billion years ago, many millions of galaxies from here, a pair of black holes collided. By the time they were a few hundred miles apart, they were whipping around at nearly the speed of light, releasing great shudders of gravitational energy. In the fraction of a second that it took for the black holes to finally merge, they radiated a hundred times more energy than all the stars in the universe combined. They formed a new black hole, sixty-two times as heavy as our sun and almost as wide as the state of Maine. As it smoothed itself out, assuming the shape of a slightly flattened sphere, a few last quivers of energy escaped. Then space and time became silent again” (Kindle edition pg. 43).

    This passage blew my mind in the sense when I realized black holes can weigh as much as a supergiant star, yet be no wider than the state of Maine. Additionally, to read about scientists measuring gravitational waves from a billion years ago was amazing. It was also a surprise to know the origin was traced back to one billion years ago. Finally, to think the two black holes can radiate one hundred times more energy than all the stars in the universe combined when they merged in a fraction of a second was a real shocker.

    “About fifty thousand years ago, they entered our own Milky Way galaxy, just as Homo Sapiens was beginning to replace our Neanderthal cousins as the planet’s dominant species of ape. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching. Twenty-two years ago, construction began on an enormous detector, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Then on September 14, 2015, at just before 11 in the morning, Central Europe Time, the waves reached Earth. Marco Drago, a 32-year-old Italian post-doctoral student and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, was the first person to notice them” (Kindle edition pg. 43).

    When I read this passage, I was surprised to learn that the gravitational waves theory began with Albert Einstein, and the first real waves were detected in 2015. I knew Einstein had studied the cosmos for years, but the gravitational waves were already new to me at this point. Additionally, I thought the LIGO team’s pain-staking process of proving the existence of gravitational waves mentioned after the passage had its points of interest. Specifically, the instances where LIGO repeatedly needed adjustments to avoid detecting sound waves on Earth in order to distinguish gravitational waves, and how the entire project cost $272 million in order to function.

    “The September 14 detection, now officially known as GW150914, has already yielded a handful of significant astrophysical findings. To begin with, it represents the first observational evidence that black hole pairs exist. Until now they had only existed in theory, since by definition they swallow all light in their vicinity, rendering themselves invisible to conventional telescopes. Gravitational waves are the only information known to be capable of escaping a black hole’s crushing gravity” (Kindle edition pg. 52).

    The last sentence in this passage really caught my attention as I read the article. As stated beforehand, I did not believe anything could escape from a black hole’s intense gravity because from what I read in science books when I was younger, the gravitational pull is powerful enough to prevent light from escaping. Additionally, I thought gravitational waves escaping from black holes were a dramatic effect used for space-related movies. Nevertheless, it turns out they really do exist, but primarily from black hole pairs that have fused into one after eons of circling each other.

    Overall, this article gave me a whole new insight and altered my perspective of space-time. If anything similar to gravitational waves could be detected with decades of advancements in science, then maybe scientists can find evidence of Einstein Rosen Bridges, connections between two points in space-time more commonly known as wormholes. Plus, considering how old the gravitational waves and the black hole pair are, who knows if there would be a possibility for time travel? I look forward to learning about new findings as more advances come and go as time flies by.

    1. Briana Shaffer

      I really enjoyed the reading as well, anything I’ve learned about space has all been self taught or the side effect of jumping into a Wikipedia rabbit hole late at night. How far have we come that we can now classify gravitational waves by their source. I think you will appreciate this link, I learned quite a bit from browsing, and I think you will find it quite interesting as well.

      1. Lane Ito

        Thank you for providing the link to the website about LIGO. I will definitely keep it in mind for future resources.

  15. b riana shaffer

    Intangible discoveries simply provide a new way of thought or prove right a person who sounded crazy at the time. Within Twilley’s essay the intangible idea of observing gravitational waves was brought to light by her explanation of Weber’s fight to create a device that could detect them. Weber, an engineering student, had this intangible idea to build the resonant bar antennae. Later Weiss went on to make Weber’s intangible idea into a tangible object for his students to understand. The image of a giant oak tree is but an intangible idea in a blind man’s mind, but it does not mean the tree doesn’t exist. Humans are continuing to develop new ways to see the world around them. The easiest way to share the ideas is by using mediums that communicate with our most precious asset, our vision. Without it we wouldn’t be able to discover new things, when we create things like the L.I.G.O. or even sonar to see what lays underneath the surface of the water we begin to appreciate what has always been there.
    By using “Writing Excellent Thesis Statements” I think I have identified Twilley’s thesis statement as “Virtually everything that is known about the universe has come to scientist by way of the electromagnetic spectrum.” On page 53.

  16. Makayla Duhon

    When considering the universe, intangible discoveries have made up almost all of our information. Besides the robots that we’ve sent to the Moon and Mars, most of our discoveries all started out as ideas. Now with greater technology, we can understand the changes happening without having to travel the distance. Many of these ideas can be portrayed in interactive models that help explain what is happening and why these things are happening. Another great way to see these intangible changes is at an observatory or with your own telescope.
    Twilley’s efforts were successful in telling the story about LIGO and her discovery of gravitational waves.
    I believe the thesis of this essay is, “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching.” (Page 43)

  17. Ashley Bolyard

    When Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves, his prediction helped the LIGO Scientific Collaboration on how to collect physical data of an intangible discovery. By knowing the reasoning of an intangible concept, it allows for one to comprehend an anomaly and how to recreate it within a tangible universe. Nicola Twilley portrayed the findings of physical data of a gravitational wave as a huge discovery because LIGO Scientific Collaboration was able to recreate how to collect the data in various locations.

    Nicola Twilley successfully captured the audience in “The Billion Year Wave,” by getting them invested in what they are reading. Twilley in “The Billion Year Wave” grasped the reader’s attention by starting at when two black holes collided creating a gravitational wave. She then moved the readers through the excitement of the scientist when the gravitational wave was proved with physical data. By writing like Twilley in “The Billion Year Wave,” she was able to disguised facts and ideas within excitement; it is one of many strategies to make ideas more accessible to an average person.

    Ideas are everywhere; they are within lectures, articles, books, movies, television, music, art, and conversations. A strategy to make more complex ideas, such as discoveries within science, more accessible to an average person is to talk more about the “why” the idea is beneficial versus on the “how.” Alternatively, another strategy is to convey an idea with lay-man terminology that way it can be more understandable.

    Twilley’s thesis at first was not noticeable. I believe it starts on page forty-four at “A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species…” and ends with “This morning, in a press conference in Washington, D.C., the LIGO team…” I feel Twilley’s thesis could have been condensed a tad, but at the same time, I like how she added excitement within her thesis.

  18. Amber Wofford

    To be honest reading about science and the discovery of something that was only mentioned decades ago is not something I can follow along with. While reading I noticed that like all learning it can take time. Each person interprets ideas differently, while all the different ideas may be considered right or wrong. It takes time and constant effort to prove something, when Albert Einstein started his journey I’m sure there were a lot of skeptics but look at his ideas now.
    I did not notice Twilley’s thesis statement right away but after I read the chapter a few times it was more clear.

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