Solving the equations of general relativity for colliding black holes is no simple matter.
Physicists began using supercomputers to obtain solutions to this famously hard problem back in the 1960s. In 2000, with no solutions in sight, Kip Thorne, 2018 Nobel Laureate and one of the designers of LIGO, famously bet that there would be an observation of gravitational waves before a numerical solution was reached.
He lost that bet when, in 2005, Carlos Lousto, then at The University of Texas at Brownsville, and his team generated a solution using the Lonestar supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. (Concurrently, groups at NASA and Caltech derived independent solutions.) [Read more…] about Final dance of unequal black hole partners