Josh Goldberg and the physical reality of gravitational waves

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In this article, I pay tribute to the contributions made by Josh Goldberg toward our understanding that gravitational waves are genuine physical predictions of general relativity. Josh played a central role in developing our understanding of how a binary star system generates gravitational waves. Another key contribution came through his patronage of the 1957 Chapel Hill Conference, in his role as funding officer for the Air Force's support of research in gravitation. I examine in detail the discussion at the Chapel Hill Conference, and show how the question of the reality of gravitational waves was resolved by a recognition that one could, in principle, construct a detector for such waves. I trace the implications of this resolution in the work of Joseph Weber, who attended the Chapel Hill Conference, and of Rainer Weiss, who did not attend but who carefully studied the key paper that Felix Pirani presented there. I conclude with a brief discussion of how a few minor remaining puzzles were resolved some years later.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3289-3299
Number of pages11
JournalGeneral Relativity and Gravitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Gravitational waves
  • Quadrupole formula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Josh Goldberg and the physical reality of gravitational waves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this