It’s exactly five years ago that scientists announced that they had managed to detect gravitational waves. The actual first detection was in September 2015, and confirmed a prediction of Albert Einstein of a hundred years ago. The discovery was world news, because scientists now had a new way of studying the universe. Until then, they only could use light, radiation or radio waves. But now they could also ‘feel’ what’s happening. This enables them to peek into the dark parts of the universe for the first time.
The announcement happened to coincide with the first ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’, that had just been established by the United Nations. Although there is room for improvement, many great female scientists work in the field of gravitational wave research and were involved in this discovery as well as future infrastructures. On 11 February, Nikhef published an interview with three of them: Sarah Caudill, Samaya Nissanke and Jessica Steinlechner. They look back on the event five years ago and share their expectations for the future of the field.