When 100 years ago Einstein predicted gravitational waves, he was in a debate with himself. How would you prove something that is not only invisible, but so difficult to detect? Earlier this year, in 2016, scientists of LIGO (The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) announced to the world one of the major discoveries of the century: the existence of gravitational waves, which opened a new door into space exploration. Since 1998 scientists of ESA (The European Space Agency) have been working on a mission called LISA Pathfinder, which is designed to explore the technology to detect gravitational waves from space. The first spacecraft was launched on December 3, 2015, before LIGO's official announcement. This extraordinary mission inspired Ekaterina to create a ceramic sculpture.
At the essence of the LISA Pathfinder project are two perfect gold-platinum cubes that are free-falling through the fabric of space. With an ultra-precise laser measuring system on board of LISA Pathfinder, the slightest changes in the flow of the cubes caused by the solar wind, pressure of sunlight or other forces will be measured to determine how still they really can be in space. In a future space mission, such still cubes will be separated by millions of km so that any minute changes in their flow effected by the gravitational waves will be detected.
In this sculpture you will find gold cubes of the original size of the space mission (46 mm or 1.8”) that are floating on gravitational waves.
Study more: LISA Pathfinder sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder
Ceramic gold cubes are hand-built replicas of those found on the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft. To achieve the exact size of 46mm (1.8") per side was very challenging due to the nature of shrinking ceramics during firings.
Blog: working on the sculpture