"Gravitational waves are feeble, primordial undulations that propagate across the cosmos at the speed of light. Astronomers have sought them for decades because they are the missing evidence for two theories.
"One is Einstein's general theory of relativity, published in 1915, which launched the modern era of research into the origins and evolution of the cosmos. The general theory explains gravity as the deformation of space by massive bodies. Einstein posited that space is like a flimsy blanket, with embedded stars and planets causing it to curve rather than remain flat.
"Those curvatures of space are not stationary, Einstein said. Instead, the gravitational waves propagate like water in a lake or seismic waves in Earth's crust.
"The other theory that predicted gravitational waves is called cosmic inflation. Developed in the 1980s, it posited that in less time than the blink of an eye after the Big Bang, the infant cosmos expanded exponentially, inflating in size by 100 trillion trillion times."
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