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Incredible Resolution

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Editor:

The most amazing aspect of the detection of gravity waves ("Field Notes," Feb. 25) is the resolution required:

The gravity waves caused the arms of the interferometer to stretch and shrink by one part in 1021. Multiplying the diameter of the Earth (107 meters) by that strain (10-21) equals 10-14 meters (the diameter of the nucleus of an atom of iron). Thus, the achieved resolution is equivalent to measuring the distortion of the whole Earth to within one atomic nucleus. Truly fantastic.

Don Garlick, Fieldbrook


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